KIDS’ KORNER: Facing our fears

KIDS’ KORNER: Facing our fears

Stripes Korea

Editor’s Note: Here are the thoughts of some students at Humphreys Middle School on facing your fears. Thanks for sharing, kids!

Snakes anyone?
I have had a fear of snakes for as long as I can remember. The reasons I am scared of snakes are the color, texture, the sound they make, and the size of them.
Whenever I am outside, I am always cautious of snakes because I fear one will come out of nowhere and strike me. Where I am from is known for the most venomous snakes in the world, and whenever we visit there I am always thinking of snakes.
We currently live around rice fields now and it worries me a snake will come out of a rice field. My brother was out playing last summer and saw a snake in our development. He described it as about four feet long, brown in color and having a diamond shaped head. When he came home and told us we googled it and we think it was a Korean snake, known as Mamushi, which is very poisonous.
I did not go outside for the next few days because I thought the snake would still be out there. Every time my brother went out I asked him if he saw it again but he always replied no. After about five days I started playing outside again but I was very very careful everywhere I stepped. I would spend most of my playtime looking on the ground and not playing with my friends for fear of snakes being around.
Although I have never seen a snake in our area since, I am always cautious whenever playing outside. I do not think I will ever get over my fear of snakes.
Noah Snyder,  8th Grade

A fear can form because of a weakness, an accident, or even an embarrassing moment; My fears formed because of my attachment to San Antonio. It was June 2019. I had just found out that my family and I were moving to Korea. Most children would be happy to travel across the world, but I was not even close to happy. In fact, I begged my parents to stay in San Antonio, But the decision was final.
I arrived here the next month and that is when everything went downhill. I was seriously afraid of not being able to enjoy my time here and I thought that I would not understand anything people said. I was even more afraid of what school might be like. When we went off-base we knew little to nothing about the Korean language. We could not talk to anyone, get help, or read the Korean text on signs. If we were lost, we would be done for!
Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit, but not knowing where to go in a place we were going to be living in for the next two years was terrible. The language barrier and traveling were not good but going to school was probably the worst. I cried on the first and second day of school because everything was so different. I was a fifth grader; I did not know any one and I missed all my best friends in San Antonio. Everything was so different and miserable.
Over time I realized that Korea is not that bad, and my fears eventually faded away like memories from long ago. I had worked my mind into believing these fears but now I know there are always going to be challenges in my time here, but at least I am happy now.
Eshan Khan, 6th Grade

Pride in holding python
Snakes, snakes, snakes. My fear of snakes started when I was young. They used to scare me to the bone. Their devious, beady eyes and their scaly skin would give me the chills. Snakes are unpredictable creatures. They have the ability to hide and lurch out at any moment. Some snakes are venomous and can kill you. If I saw one, I would be paralyzed with fear, but not now, not after my encounter with one.
One summer, my family and I went on a trip to Bali. When we were in Bali, we went to the Turtle Conservation Center, there were more than just turtles. As we walked around the center we came to an area with snakes. I froze. My fear had paralyzed my entire body. It was scary. Women and little children were holding snakes and allowing them to slither all over their bodies, with no worries. After seeing the brave women and children, I wanted to overcome my fear. So, my dad and I both held a snake. When they put the snake on me, I was nervous because snakes can smell fear, so I tried to stay calm.
I soon started to panic, then the snake started coiling itself around my neck. While that was happening, I felt the snake tightening its grip around my neck. I thought I was going to die in Bali. But I yelled for the staff to remove the snake and they did. I later learned the snakes we held were pythons. This should have freaked me out, but instead I felt pride that I had held a snake and conquered my fear.
Ngozichukwu Mika Opokwasili, 6th Grade

Falling in the pit of webs
Fears are stories created in our minds. Stories can be fiction or nonfiction. My fears are nonfiction!! Let me tell you about my fears. I am afraid of falling. My family lives in the towers on Camp Humphreys and we live on the 4th floor.  When we first arrived, I went out on the patio and I looked down and thoughts started rushing into my head: “Will I die,” “What type of injury will I get if I fall?”  Immediately, I went inside. Since the bathroom has no windows, I went in there because I felt more comfortable, and started watching Youtube. After a month or so, I could go out to the patio, and I am not so scared. I do not have to rush back inside anymore. To overcome this fear, I made jokes about it or did not let the bad thoughts keep me from going on the patio. Adding to this is my fear of spiders. Recently, my family went on a hike and my dad joked that if we fell a certain way he could not save us. My mom joked that there was a spider down the mountain. I started thinking that if I fell all those spiders would crawl all over me. This reminded me of a nightmare I had about playing at the park and spiders attacking me. I could feel the spiders biting me and the venom going on to arm. I was feeling this in the dream. I woke up and was checking my clothes for the spiders. I went to get my dog to comfort me and I went back to sleep.
John Stone, 6th Grade

Finding fear
Fear. The emotion that makes all human beings worried and scared. We are often told that fear is a weakness. That it is “stupid” to be scared or have fears. Often, we think that fear is a weakness. But what if fears are not a weakness? What if we see fear as a tool to find the resolutions to our cause of fear. To “read” our fears. We all have fears, such as being late to a meeting, turning in our homework late, falling off the cruise.  But if we overcome our fears like arriving at the place that the meeting is being held 30 minutes earlier or finishing our homework as soon as we get home, then we have nothing to worry about. If we all look at our fears closely there is always a resolution to be found.
My fear when I was a kid was the dark because all the scary stories I heard were about being in the dark. So, one day I took my courage and went outside of my bedroom and explored the house at night when everything was dark. I was still scared but I just walked around the house but when I heard a moan I ran to my room and did not come out of my bed until I had to go to school. It turns out that my dad had bumped into some furniture and was moaning because it hurt so much. The next night I took my courage and explored the house again. And when I learned the dark wasn’t that scary, I went back to bed and fell asleep. That is how I overcame my fear of the dark. I encourage you to be brave and face your fears.
Sienna Chu, 6th Grade

Magical scary adventure
Most people do not like to be afraid. But at some time in our lives, we will face fear.  The first time I ever faced my fear was when I was about four and my family went to Florida for a vacation. We had a lot of fun! We went to Disney World, and WOW!   We were having an amazing time there. That is, until I decided to go find my mom in the big crowd.
I know, it was the biggest mistake I have ever made. I let go of my dad’s hand and just kept walking and walking, until I finally realized that I would never find my mom. So I stopped, and just stood there. Doing absolutely nothing. I was so scared  I couldn’t even move.
Then a nice old man came up to me and asked if I was lost. And I was like “Finally! Someone came to find me!” He told me to follow him to my parents. And now I I have no idea who this man was, but all I really wanted was to be with my parents. So, I followed him, right up to my parents! I thought that was magic! I really want to thank that man again for helping me. But when I turned around, he was already gone. So that little adventure was both magical and scary for me. And that was me, Eres Park, facing my fear.
Eres Park, 6th Grade

Scared of the dark
The thing I fear the most is the dark. It is not the absence of light that I am afraid of, but what is hiding in the dark. When it is dark, I can’t see in front of or behind me. It is the unknown that I am afraid of. There could be something watching me that I can’t see. Every time I step into the hallway of my house at night to get some water, I get this weird feeling that something or someone is watching me in the dark.
A couple times I even thought I saw something looking around a corner. I have to stay in the hallway for at least one minute so my eyes can adjust to the dark. After my eyes finish adjusting, I can see almost everything in the dark and I am not nervous as much. This happens to me at least once or twice every night, but I am slowly becoming comfortable in the dark.
Because I wanted to know more about my own fear, I decided to do some research. According to, an intense fear of the dark is called Nyctophobia and it can sometimes cause anxiety and depression and usually appears during your childhood and is a normal part of developing. I realized that I am not as afraid of the dark as people with Nyctophobia. People with Nyctophobia experience severe physical and emotion symptoms while I just feel scared.
Even though I am sometimes still afraid of the dark, I am getting better with it. Now, I know my house so well that I do not have to look around when I walk. Sometimes I have the same weird feeling, but now most of the time I can just ignore it. I hope that soon I will not be scared of the dark at all.
Alexander Gillen, 6th Grade

Overcoming Fear
Oxford’s English Dictionary defines fear as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Fears can keep us from doing the things that we love.
I notice my fear of heights while indoor rock climbing. Before that I was only bouldering close to the ground. Bouldering is free climbing which means you don't need a rope or a harness. So if you fall bouldering you may get hurt, but you probably will not die.
My brother encourages me to climb the rock wall. The rock wall is forty feet high and I am scared to go on it, but my brother makes it look easy. So I put on my harness and attach the safety rope. I am nervous, but I am trying not to look scared in front of my brother and his friends. They are sixteen years old, but I am only eleven.
I start to climb and then midway through I look down. The ground is really far down. Then all of a sudden I feel dizzy and my stomach starts to feel queasy. My hands got sweaty and they start to slip off of the holds. I reach for one more hold and then start to feel nauseous so I know I have to climb back down. I should let go of the holds and lean back to let the auto-belay lower me to the ground, but I can't let go. Humiliated, I climb back down.
Later that day I was able to push past the fear and make it to the top of the rock wall. I was also able to come down with the auto-belay.  I am proud I was able to push past my fear and do something I love.
Liam Rairdon, 6th grade, Humphreys Middle School

My fear is elevators. I am afraid of riding them, getting on and off, getting left behind, and getting stuck between the doors. I am afraid of heights, so I get nervous when I am in a see-through elevator. I wasn’t always afraid of elevators, but ever since I went on my first one in Korea, I have been afraid of them. Ever since I went on my first elevator in Korea, I have dreaded going on another. It all started when my family and I went to an outlet in Korea. It had around 10 floors. We were in the parking garage and All the elevators there were see-through, so it made me nervous because I was afraid of heights. One of the elevator’s walls was a window that outlook a big city and as the elevator went up or down you could see how far above the ground you were and outside speeding by. It made me dizzy. We went on an elevator and my mom and sisters were in it, and my dad and I were about to get on. The elevator started closing before we could get on and my dad put his arm there to stop it from closing. The elevator doors weren’t opening. I thought his arm was going to get stuck, but right at the last moment, the doors opened. I was relieved, but that created the fear of getting stuck and getting left behind. That is the story of how my fears were created. Of course, throughout time more fearful things happened. Once I did get stuck between the doors of an elevator, but all it did was scare me. So, now I am a little scared, but have more focus on reality!
Breana Elkins, 6th grade, Humphreys Middle School

My Four Fears
I have multiple fears. I am afraid of the dark, clowns, spiders and being alone. Now I'm going to explain reasons why have this fears
First, I have a fear of the dark because I can't see my surroundings. I am also scared because I don't know if something or someone is there. For example, there could be some kind of creature, ghost or strange person in the dark room that might try to hurt me. If I get stuck in a dark place I think I would have a panic attack. This is why I sleep with a light on in my room. The dark really scares me.
I am also scared of clowns. Clowns are naturally creepy. When I was 5 years old a clown chased me in my nightmare and traumatized me for life, and this is when I became afraid of clowns. The clown in my nightmare had a red ball-shaped nose, white face and scary, sneaky looking eyes. I will never forget what he looked like.
The other thing I fear is spiders. One time I saw my mom get bitten by a spider. She screamed because it was painful and her arm was bumpy and swollen in that spot. That was scary. I don’t want to be near any spiders and I worry about a spider crawling on me when I sleep. 
The last thing I am afraid of is being alone. If I am alone and something bad happens I am on my own. I will have to deal with it by myself. What if I don’t know what to do?
These are some fears I still have to this day.
Chaelin Lim, 6th Grade, Humphreys Middle School

Way Up High
It does not matter how big, strong, tough, or even brave you are; everyone has a fear. Fears are made-up scenarios that a person makes up in their mind, and makes them scared of something that they don’t always need to be scared of. I don’t have many fears, but one of my main fears is acrophobia, the fear of heights. Once, when my family and I were on a road trip to Missouri, we stayed a hotel; we got a room on the 5th floor. When we were on our way to our room, I looked out the window and thought I was going to fall. It made me super scared and dizzy. Whenever I have to go somewhere that takes place somewhere high, I get nauseous, anxious, nervous, dizzy, and very uncomfortable. Any time I get too high up, I think that I could fall down at any moment.  My fear of heights is why I hate being up too high and is why I would rather just stay on the ground.
A lot of people have the fear of heights, and about 2-5% of people have acrophobia. It is the ability to find and identify danger and to make a choice to either confront that fear or flee from the situation. I always try to stay away from heights because I hate feeling scared; a great way to overcome fear, though, would be to slowly make my way up a set of stairs or an elevator that has a window, and work on getting higher each time I go up. Fears are what have kept us alive for thousands of years, and without them, we probably would not be here today, but I won’t be skydiving anytime soon.
Charlie Iuchs, 6th grade, Humphreys Middle School

Fears can be described as an emotional response to different situations, or things. Fears start out as what-ifs, then gradually take over your thoughts, mind, and emotions. Many people are plagued with a single immense fear of something irrational, or downright impossible. However, everyone has a fear of some sort, even if they don’t believe it. Things like being afraid of dying, losing loved ones, maybe just getting a flu shot. Anxiety follows everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, or beliefs.
Even I, a puny middle schooler, am afraid of many things. For example, shots can be scary right? Going to the dentist, turning in quizzes. Many small things to overthink. Then there are bigger things to worry about, growing up, moving, grades. However, things like change really freak me out. I’m sure everyone reading this can somewhat understand that. The thought that in a few years everything will be different. I might have friends moving, my brother might be in college, heck, I  might start liking onions! These thoughts made me panicky, worried, that soon I’d have to leave my mother's nest, and become an “adult”.
However, those were things I worried about a while ago. When, believe it or not, I was still a shell-shocked fourth grader. I was immensely scared. Overthinking everything, worrying about things that made no sense. I obsessed over small details, filling with regret. Not even thinking to look on the bright side. And while I do admit that even today I still have these fears, they aren’t taking over my life. I got over them, thinking to look on the bright side for once, deciding to not let those worries make my last few memories in Germany glum. So, just remember-- stop being a negative-Nancy-- and think about the whole picture.
Tran Pham, 6th Grade, Humphrey’s Middle School

The Dreadful COVID-19 Test
I moved to South Korea from Oklahoma in July, which was during the coronavirus pandemic. That meant that I had to quarantine for 2 weeks, and also take the test for COVID19. I first found out that I had to take the test before I moved here. I was a little nervous, but my mom said that we could eat ice cream after! I started really dreading it on the last plane ride. When I get nervous, sometimes my throat feels kind of sore and weird. Kind of like butterflies in my stomach but in my throat.
When we landed we went to the Humphreys youth center, where we would get the test. At this point, I was really nervous. I watched my family members do it. My little brother thought it tickled, and was laughing!  My little sister, Anna Claire, was asleep. Everybody else did great, but then it was my turn.
I was really nervous as I had heard that it really hurt. I had to sit down on a chair and then pull my mask down. They got out the cotton swab, and then they brought it closer to my face. They put it in my nose a little, but they did it so slowly that the little things on the top of the swab tickled my nose. They took it out and then they did it. It felt really weird after. It ended up not really hurting. I was glad it was over though.
One week later, we were in a van, leaving our new house for the first time, on our way to get the second test. I was not nearly as nervous, but I still went last. This time it hurt so much more than the first time but I tested negative for both tests and I’m glad I did it.
Abigail Bartoli, 6th grade, Humphreys Middle School

My Current Fears That Are not Helpful at All
Have you ever had any fears when you were a young child? I know I had some fears back when I was young. I remember that I was afraid of dark alleys and heights. I still get a little creeped out when I see dark alleys. The one fear that I have right now is that I might catch COVID-19.   Before the alert rate went up to “Charlie,” I went to a couple of Korean youth academies. That meant that I had to ride my bike from our apartment to those youth academies. I rode through streets full of people I didn’t know. The kind of thoughts always running through my head was, “Uh-oh, he’s coughing, Is she sick? What if he has the virus? How am I gonna get to the academy without getting near all these people?” Even though I was worried, I would remind myself that I had my mask on and that I wasn’t going to stay in this crowded street for more than a couple of seconds.
I’m still trying to figure out how to not be nervous when I go out in public. I have a few ideas, like avoiding places with too many people, making sure that I’m wearing my mask properly, not hanging around the same place for too long, and thinking positively to myself over and over again, “I’ll be fine.”
Although our fears as a child were unrealistic, you start to notice as you grow up, those fears are getting more and more reasonable and somewhat logical. And I’ll tell you this: Don’t let your fears overwhelm you, or they might stay with you for the rest of your life.
Julian Cho, 6th Grade, Humphreys Middle School

I have a fear of heights.  It started when I was really, really young.  My mom said that when I would play on the playground, I would look through the holes in the floor on the set and start freaking out because I thought I was really high up (I wasn’t).  An early memory that I have is when I lived in Hawaii.  When we were there, we would hike a lot. I was fine with it except we would hike a lot on mountains. When we would start going down, there were a lot of steep slippery parts on the path and I would get scared because I thought that I was going to fall off the path and off the mountain.  When my family and I got to Korea, we wanted to go to a famous tower. When we got to the parking lot, we learned that we had to go on a tram to get to it.  I  did not want to go on it at all, but I had to.  When we got on the tram, it was filled with people and I was pushed against a wall that had a window and I was terrified.  When we got out, I did not want to go on a tram ever again.  My fear of heights is not that bad now. I think this is because a few months ago we went to a ski resort and had to go on a tram again to get to the top.  When we got into the tram, it was just my family and me.  When I looked down through the window, I didn’t feel that scared.
Eva Kuhn, 8th Grade HMS

A phobia is a fear. Usually, they are started by a nightmare or a story and sometimes scary movies or you see something scary on the news. Some people are scared of things that don't exist anymore like dinosaurs. A while ago I had a nightmare that when I flushed the toilet a dog jumped out and tried to eat me. For a while, I was scared to go to the bathroom if there was no one outside of the bathroom. It is small silly fears that lead to phobias. I myself was scared of a dog jumping out of the toilet. This seems like it would be scary but when you really take the time to think about it you will probably find that it is very unlikely to flush a toilet and a man-eating dog will come after. Even when you figure out it is unlikely some people will still be scared.
Sometimes we don’t even know why we are scared of something. If you don't know why you have a phobia of something I encourage you to figure out why you are scared of this thing. Let’s say I have a phobia of elevators I am scared of them because I saw a scary movie and the elevator shut down and fell and the people in it almost died and I think that is going to happen to me. Well if I wanted to face my fear I would need to go on an elevator. It is good to face your fears because then you can go and try things that you never did because of your fear. Don't let fears stop you from your dreams. Don't let your fears take over. You should face whatever fears you have. Trust me. It is more fun not to have fears.
Gabby Thompson, 6th grade Humphreys Middle School

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