n. An abnormal fear of the night or darkness.

So often, potential is described using the metaphor of "a star burning brightly" or "a light for all to see." It's interesting how all our popular metaphors depict an illuminating light surrounded by darkness. If the light is our potential, what does the darkness represent?

Here I am, a first-semester freshman in college, surrounded by all of this light. My life is full of good things! I'm a Student Ambassador, I'm working on a CEO consulting research team, I'm getting good grades, I'm getting involved in things like ushering devotionals, and I'm in the Relief Society Presidency. I get along with my roommates and I'm making new friends. It's light outside and I like it that way.

But a star can't shine as brightly during the day. Night falls. Here comes the darkness.

All my life, I've been the girl with the plan. In elementary school, I was the author. I was going to be the youngest woman in history with a Newbery Award-winning book. During recess, I was the kid in the corner scribbling frantically in the completely abused composition book and paying the recess lady to read the most recent chapter.

A few years later, I was going to be the youngest spy in the world. I delved myself so far into my fantasy of saving the world that I convinced myself I had already saved the world, at the expense of my memories. I had saved the world once before, sacrificed all my training and previous knowledge, and had been placed in a home with normal parents who knew nothing about my past. Someday, secret agents would show up at my doorstep and ask me for help - and I would be back in the game.

In high school, I was the composer. All I wanted was to be the youngest movie score composed in Hollywood. I was going to win awards like crazy. Hans Zimmer would be begging to work with me.

Maybe I'm just a little over-obsessive over being the first and having important people need my help.

I had a plan. I had mapped out the plan so well, you could ask me where I would be in seven years exactly and I would know that day's breakfast menu. Pancakes.

I've only changed my mind maybe five times. But changing your mind gets harder and harder as time goes by. A few weeks after I graduated from high school, I switched one more time. Psychology.

I love it! I love my classes and I love the way this subject makes me feel. The only problem is that I'm flying blind here. I know what I want to do, but for the first time in my life, I don't know how to get there.

The future is terrifying. For the first time since Kindergarten, I don't know where I want to get my doctorate. I don't even know what I want to be the first at or who I want to beg for my assistance.

And it's scary because I still love music. How can a person feel such a pull in one direction when the other direction feels so good? What if I was only holding on to this ridiculous dream in the first place because it was the only thing I was good at?

I'm that first star I see at night, the one that comes out when it's still light outside, and it slowly gets dark all around it. In just the blink of an eye, here I am, realizing that it's dark outside, I'm lost in a sea of other perfectly round stars, and I'm scared of the dark.

Then again, the star is supposed to represent potential, right? So it'll just shine brighter in the darkness?

Deep breaths, Lizzie...

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lizzie, who stepped back, took a running start, and leaped out into the darkness.

Here I go.

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