Students should not fear change

By Julia Marnin
Production Manager

Days before I started my freshman year at the College a year and a half ago, I was extremely anxious. I did not know what to expect from this new chapter of my life and was beginning to get cold feet. So many thoughts swirled around my head. Was this the right decision? Should I have gone to another school? Will I make any new friends?

My worries stemmed from the fact that I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. I was leaving the comfort and familiarity of my home and family that I was used to.

The car ride up to the College on move in day was particularly nerve wracking. I knew I couldn’t change my mind. Little did I know at that moment, my decision to come to the College and step outside of my comfort zone was one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

I realized this was the right school and I made plenty of new friends. The College has become a place where I thrive. It only took me being momentarily uncomfortable to make that transitional jump.

Studying abroad can be a chance for students to break out of their comfort zones. (tcnj.edu)

When I use the GPS on my iPhone, it uses the College as my home address — which is fitting, because the College really has become my home.

Had I stayed in my comfort zone, I would not have grown the way I have. Leaving it instilled character in me, and has bettered me as a more independent person. Since then, I have met people and encountered opportunities that I would have missed out on.

I had to remember the benefits of leaving my comfort zone when I was faced with another opportunity to leave it.

Early in my college career, I knew I wanted to study abroad as a junior for a semester. However, that was a decision that had to be made in advance of my junior year. The College had become my new comfort zone, and now I had to choose if I wanted to step outside of it.

As a sophomore, I discovered that the study abroad program I desired the most would work best during the fall semester of my junior year. At the time of this discovery, I realized there was not much time until the application deadline.

I had to make a big decision. Many questions came to my mind. I thought, “What if I’m not ready to spend months in another country by myself? What if I’ll get homesick? What if I won’t make any friends on the program I go on?”

I realized that all of my what-ifs and worries were quite similar to the ones I had before I came to college. Moving an hour away from home versus moving across the Atlantic ocean seemed incomparable. This would be a large step outside my comfort zone. However, I remembered that taking a leap of faith in coming to the College brought the best change to my life.

Instead of worrying about the negative possibilities of studying abroad, I thought of all the positive potential. Since I’ve grown so much in coming to the College, I realize how much more I would grow leaving it for a semester. Immersing myself in a new culture and language different than my own can truly teach me independence.

I decided that even though it may be scary to study abroad, I had to apply. It is again time for me to leave my comfort zone, and to see what awaits in life’s next chapter.

Leaving your comfort zone is a chance for a new start. It is a way to shake up the monotonous schedule of day-to-day life and embark on a new journey.

You will learn things about yourself that you never knew, and gain memorable life experiences. Even if your experiences outside your comfort zone aren’t always positive, you will surely learn something. You will be happy to know you had the courage to be uncomfortable.

The only way to progress and grow in life is to start taking risks. If you find yourself feeling that you’ve felt comfortable for too long, you know what to do.

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