I’ve been working on scholarship applications for next school year when I go to Gutenberg College.
I found a $1,000 scholarship from Contract Mint that would help a lot, so I started working on the required essay.
The prompt is this: “What is your #1 advice to future freelancers?”
I don’t know if I’ll be selected or not, but if they do select me and this article is published on their website, I’ll add proper links to it. For the time being, though, here is my answer:
Earlier this year I was walking through a park with a friend when we saw evidence of beavers: gnawed off trees and a creek partly blocked up. While some might be not appreciate the beavers’ work—they are destroying a beautiful habitat—I look at them differently. Beavers are an excellent example of initiative and hard work. They see a problem, their lack of a home, and they take the initiative to fix it. They start right to work and do not stop until they have completed their objective.
I compared this work attitude to my own life. When I encounter a problem or opportunity, do I face it head on? Do I start working right now, or do I push it off for another day?
In my life, taking initiative has always been one of my weaknesses. When it comes to any large, or even small, decision that I have to make on my own, I falter.
For instance, during my senior year of high school, I considered several different colleges and thought that I might want to go to a couple of them. However, the fear of the unknown held me back. I felt that I did not understand the application process well enough, and I was afraid of making a mistake, so I never tried. I made the worst mistake by being too afraid to make one.
When I discovered the college that I have now decided to go to, I vowed not to make that error again. Four months before their early application deadline, I gave them a call and talked with their admissions counselor. It was a fruitful conversation that propelled me toward working on my application. I finished it before the deadline, and sent it right in. It was such a refreshing feeling to have taken the initiative and made a big step on my own.
I am now starting to see that good things will not just come to me, both in college, and in other aspects of life. If good things just appeared effortlessly, there would be no reason to work. But that is not how life happens. You have to go chase those good things.
For instance, I have considered freelancing before. In fact, I would like to make freelancing my college job. It fits a student well, especially in the scheduling aspect. I would be able to study for my classes while working in my free time.
But even though I have planned to start freelancing for a couple years now, I have never started. I suppose it is the fear of failure that is holding me back again. But, if I never try, I will have failed by default. You see, failure is not a bad thing. I used to think of it as being the worst outcome, but in reality, failure can be a better experience than success. If I fail, I have learned a valuable lesson. Whether or not I fail, I have made some valuable connections. If I succeed, then I have another successful project under my belt. But in the end, failure or success will not matter. What will matter is the lessons I have learned and the connections I have made.
That is why I am finally starting to freelance. I have made the decision and signed up for an account on Fiverr, a site for freelancers to find gigs. It is a small start, but it is a start. I have had enough of sitting around, scared of what the future might hold, so I am going to plow ahead.
I am going to be a beaver. I am not going to get sidetracked by my fear or anything else. I am going to choose to focus on what is most important. Beavers take a seemingly insurmountable challenge and tackle it one step at a time. If they got sidetracked, they would never get anywhere. But instead, they start working and keep working.
As I start my journey into college and freelancing, there are many things I wish I knew. But I do know one thing. If I am a beaver, an initiative-taker and a hard worker, I will succeed in the end.
Be a beaver.