Don’t wait

Dan Malloy

Sometimes, you have to cut off your thinking brain and jump in.

I’ve spent most of my life waiting. Waiting for the right opportunity, the right motivation, or the right words to say. But that “right thing” never comes.

I’m a Malvern lifer. I’ve seen three Heads of School, supercookies, and a library where we had real books instead of Chromebooks (shocker). I’ve hustled to gather accolades and experiences in the classroom, in the newsroom, or on the track. I thought after all I’ve accomplished and seen by this point, I’d be a much more fearless, confident person sitting at graduation.

But I still feel like the scared little Malvern sixth grader afraid of not reaching my potential, afraid I didn’t do enough, or afraid I’m not ready for what will come next.

People who know me would characterize me as a thinker. I often think too much that I walk into walls or lose important items on the regular. But most of the time I’m thinking about my ideal world.

The land of the fantasy world can be both good and bad. On one hand, it reminds you of your direction—what kind of friends you want to have, what kind of success you want to have in your school/work, etc—and can motivate you. Venture into your head too much, however, and you lose sight of what is in front of you (figuratively and physically).  

You also get afraid of messing up that fantasy. I had that fear early on in my Malvern career. I would get so nervous before anything I did, especially in social situations. I wanted to talk to people and show everyone my personality, but I felt like there was something blocking me.

It took the help of those around me to help me learn to “jump in” to difficult situations. Joining newspaper my freshman year was a blessing. Barely opening my mouth during the day then sitting down to challenge an administrator on a new policy was definitely a tone-switch. But I had older editors and an adviser to push me to do that.

As the years rolled by in high school, the challenges I faced got more complex. Leadership positions, increased academic pressure, and social complexities presented lots of problems. Some of these problems I’ve hit head-on, but others I’ve tried to run away from. I’ve run away when I doubt myself or think something is an impossible hurdle.

As Editor-in-Chief, there have been times when I’ve said to myself, “There is literally no way I can do this.” With managing the workload, public speaking in front of the staff, and holding people accountable, I thought I’d never be able to rise to the challenge. So I shied away from my responsibilities at times.

The key to anything is momentum. Once you jump in and start doing something, all of your previous conceptions go out the window and your mind goes into overdrive looking for solutions. If you just keep at it for long enough, you’ll hit a groove and forget about all your doubts.

I truly found my stride when I stopped making excuses and got to work, even when I had no energy or when I didn’t know what to do.

Malvern is a special place because it provides the experiences you need to grow and the necessary support you need to push past your barriers. If you’re struggling, lower your ego and look to those around you. Your family, your trusted teachers, your brothers at Malvern—they can help you pull yourself back up.

Life’s too short to wait on getting the things you want. Jump in now, and you won’t regret it.

Dan’s Stories