One of my favorite quotes is this: ”Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” This has literally been my mantra for the past four weeks, reciting it in my head when I start to feel uncomfortable or stressed. Which, if I may confess, is fairly often.
As a student in the College Student Service Administration program, I am often engaging in class discussions centered on topics that are anything but straightforward. Students intentionally select topics to learn about in which they have little previous experience and vested interest, such as a specific population of students they wish to learn how to better support. This could be a topic of ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, ability, or a number of other characteristics that contribute to a student’s experience at college.
As a requirement in some classes, students must interview other students and administrators about their experiences with the topic of choice. In this process of reaching out to others and requesting one-on-one discussions about their cultural experiences or aspects of their identities, students both physically and mentally move out of their “comfort zones” and into the place where new learning happens.
The process is both a struggle and a priceless gift. With each new difficult task, I feel myself growing as a person and a professional, which in my opinion are the best kind of growing pains one can have. I am becoming better able to think critically, empathize fully, and adapt to new situations quickly, which will all be necessary while working in a field where unique obstacles emerge daily.
Aside from putting intense focus on my studies, I have tried to find one or two fun activities to do per week. On Friday, I got to see one of my all-time favorite folk bands, Good Old War. Their three-part harmonies and musical talent is incredible, and they are way better in person than any online video can do them justice. When feeling stressed, it really does help doing something enjoyable with people you love!