It sat there, its grey feathers blending in with the black asphalt, still, with only the wind moving its feathers. It was helpless and unprotected from the dangers of cars and pedestrians, until it was picked up and cradled in napkins and placed in the bushes and soil. As I cradled it in between two napkins, I realized that this baby bird unable to fly could be one of us.
Being in college can make one feel like a bird unable to fly: helpless, alone, unprotected by the conflicts life throws at us. Do I take this class now or later? 12 credits or 15? Do I continue in this job or start something new and exciting? Be able to try something new and grow, or stay with what’s comfortable? Make people in your life happy or yourself?
One would think becoming an upperclassman in college would make these questions easier to answer. One would expect one’s life to be more focused and figured out, but sometimes it’s the exact opposite. In some ways becoming wiser makes life a little bit messier. Sometimes you have to erase the drawing board and start up a whole new one.
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With that comes saying goodbye to old interests and learning to be comfortable in the unknown. It can mean choosing yourself for some time and realizing some things can be put on hold.
This can come with fear and vulnerability, no protection from the world around us. So how does one overcome this? How does one make it over to the bushes when you can’t fly? The answer to that is by waiting for that one person to pick you up and move you there, for that one person to open your eyes to a new array of possible accomplishments.
As humans we are designed to be flawed. One of those flaws is not asking for help when needed. Why is that? One may never know the definite answer. But life has a funny way of putting us in certain situations where the only direction we can go is the direction of help. It may not come right away, but it will eventually.
There are moments where we are left to sit with our thoughts and attempt to come up with a solution, while at the same time hoping that someone will give us an answer. What if I never figure it out? What if I can’t figure this out on my own this time?
Time will pass, people will walk by, the sun will set and the moon will rise, and after all of this, when the time is right, that one person will take the time to get out of her car and pick you up to help. You may try to fight it, but with the right person, they will still be there to help until you make it over to the bushes, until you have a solution.
In this world, there tends to be people who think that people who need extra help, who take more time understanding how to solve a math problem, who have limits to their workload, can’t fly, can’t succeed. But that’s where they’re wrong. The majority of people who are successful got to where they are because they had help, because they needed help and someone came around at the right time.
So, just because you may have a broken wing, and all these unanswered questions left to solve, doesn’t mean you won’t fly. Because you will. Because you can.
Natalie Fitzgibbons (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in American Studies.