“Make sure you pray before and after you get off the plane. And don’t forget to call me as soon as you land!” That was the statement my mother said to me as I boarded my third flight. I can’t begin to explain the feeling of nervousness and anxiousness that overwhelmed my body. It’s the same feeling I get every time I board a plane. In my almost 21 years of living, who would have thought that a once shy boy would conquer a long-standing fear.
I woke up early that morning, freshened up and fumbled through my closet to find the most comfortable outfit. My sister previously suggested that I wear something that I could easily slip off, due to check in at TSA. I followed her advice and wore a nice pair of jeans, my Birkenstock sandals and my orange Honors College t-shirt. I called it the “typical airplane outfit.” After deciphering what to wear, I packed my car and drove to the airport. It felt like a few centuries before I arrived but I endured the drive. I was just excited that I got there on time. Being that it was my third time flying, I wanted to be precautious at the airport.
After arriving at the airport, I was surprised to see that there weren’t many people there. I imagined that it would be full of people hustling and bustling to get to their terminal but a calming silence filled the atmosphere. I checked in with TSA and I sadly waved my mother goodbye. She really wanted to see me off on the plane but because she wasn’t flying, she couldn’t do so. I sat at my terminal gate for about 30 minutes until a middle-aged woman came to the desk and announced that it was time to board the flight. She called us by our seating area and I was grateful to be in the first group. I clutched my bag, yanked out my headphones and marched onto the plane. You would’ve thought I was the president of the U.S. with all the confidence I had. I may have appeared fearless but on the inside, my knees were knocking and my teeth were trembling in agony. The flight attendant went through a plethora of instructions and the airplane began slowly moving. Let’s just say at this point I was pretty nervous. Well, really nervous!
I was a little relieved as we elevated in the sky but at the same time, I was still nervous as ever! I’m not a frequent flyer so every time I board a plane, my emotions begin to invade my mind. Though my fears wanted to overtake my judgment, I actually discovered that flying is very soothing. Aside from the constant ear popping, I loved every minute of being in the air. When I got off the airplane, I was greeted by the beautiful city of Austin, TX! It felt like immediate joy was in the air of the airport. I couldn’t wait to see what the PRSSA National Conference had in store for me! I encourage everyone to fly safely and don’t forget to remain calm in any situation that you’re fearful of. You may never know the outcome but it’s always good to conquer the things that you fear. In the end, it just proves that you are capable of any and everything you set out to achieve!
Deontre’ McCray is an undergraduate student at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He was a recipient of the PRSA Travel Grant to attend the 2018 PRSSA National Conference in Austin, Texas.