If you asked my mom what her son was like a few months ago, then she would have answered, “He steps with a seemingly perpetual pep, that only increases as the days dwindle ‘til move in.’” As her son, I can tell you her assessment is certainly correct. However, I wouldn’t have thought so this time last year. I was timid, a bit of a push-over really; it felt like I let things happen to me instead of making them happen for me. Little did I know how, this little place of heaven we call Northern would press much change
When it comes to comfort zones, it would be perfectly fair to say that mine were a bit below the average at that time in my life. Luckily enough for me, this extremity could be increased. If going to class frightens you, your stomach drops when a professor asks a question or the fear of technical failure in a lab paralyzes you, then you aren’t in a good position to make it to medical school. Regardless, the great thing about being at the bottom is that there’s really only one way to go.
See, the nice thing about comfort zones is that they aren’t applicable to just one certain thing. Since you live in your comfort zone, it’s entirely subjective to your perspective, habits or how you choose to live. The habits, actions and choices made in one aspect of life reflect those in another.
It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that moving nearly seven hours away to a place where one has never been would be petrifying. For me, it was, and I had zero friends. Despite all that was seemingly mounting against me, I made a choice to not feel alone; the act was definitely courageous.
I saw one person sitting by herself at dinner. So, I walked right up to her, sat down and asked, “Where are you from?”
She said, “Lansing, I want to be a preschool teacher.”
After she invited me to family dinner with the rest of her friends, the rest was history. That initial conversation led me to—at the time—a killer roommate and friends that inspired me to continue challenging myself in little, yet meaningful ways.
I accredit who and what I am today to that choice I made so seemingly long ago: 20 seconds of insane, ridiculous and minorly embarrassing courage. That same choice led me down a path of confidence and success not only as a student, but as a friend and a human being. We are so very privileged; yes, I do mean privileged, to go off to college. Many of us are first generation students, or we are pursuing doctorates. Ultimately, my point is that we’re attempting to do the extraordinary, and that unto itself is sensational. If it’s not, then we’re doing it wrong.
You’re only a college student once. So, jump off Black Rocks when the lake is 45 degrees, stay up until 3 a.m. on a school night with your friends, take a course you’re scared of or ask that person out. Do whatever you need to do to grow. College only happens once. You’re only young once, and nobody remembers the night when they stayed in. So, put some pep in your step, and make your parents question who comes back home this Christmas.