By Sara Symes, SED’16
“C’mon Sarah!” Rebekah cried out.
I stood at the edge of the motorized canoe and looked down at the murky, mysterious waters of the Tiputini River running underneath. I looked up to see my friends, already about 50 feet up the river, swimming and laughing.
Rebekah continued, her voice echoing through the untouched Amazon rainforest, “SARAH! JUST JUMPPPPP! JUST JUMP IN!”
I took a deep breath, smiled, and jumped in.
This might just seem like a typical, adventurous study abroad tale, but it is also a story that describes one of the most important things I have ever learned: Sometimes, even if you cannot see the outcome, you need to just jump in.
I have learned, and re-learned, this lesson several times here at BU.
I learned this when I went to my first rehearsal for BU’s Inner Strength Gospel Choir. I had never sung gospel music before, but after weeks of unsuccessful a cappella auditions and singing softly to my Warren Towers showerhead, I knew I needed to find a place to sing on campus. That first rehearsal, I was planning on sitting in the back and just listening. Then, the director, Herb, saw me, asked me what part I wanted to sing, and said, “Just jump in! You’ll figure the lyrics out!”
Little did I know that that first rehearsal would turn into four years with the choir, two of those years being on the e-board (one year as Secretary, and the other as President).
I learned this when I committed to do my ESL student teaching practicum in Malden, a place I had only previously known as a city on the Orange Line. I came to my first day a little bit nervous about being with a new group of students. “You’re going to be fine,” my cooperating teacher assured me, “Just jump in!”
Little did I know that this would lead to an incredible experience working with 45 kind and resilient students who inspired me to be a better teacher every single day.
For some, jumping in is a normal part of their everyday lives. But for planning-oriented people like me, it is sometimes hard to say “yes!” and to make commitments without knowing every possible outcome. While planning is great, and vital to the teaching profession, I have found that some of the most important moments of my life have come from when I took those chances, those leaps of faith, and said “yes!” without knowing what might lay ahead.
Jumping into something new isn’t always easy. It isn’t always glamorous. It isn’t always fun. But there are two things that I’ve learned from jumping in. The first is that you don’t know how something will be until you try it. And the second is that there will always be people there for you, floating somewhere along whatever Tiputini River your life takes you to.
So, when incoming freshmen ask me, a recently graduated senior, for any advice that I would give them about coming to BU, I can give them my answer in three, simple words:
“Just jump in!”