A Word on Leaving Your Comfort Zone in College

The world is not just for extroverts.
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The world is not just for extroverts.
Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love

Photo Credit: ELLE

Growing up, I was always the shy, quiet girl in the background. Fast forward to today: I love to read books and surf the web for hours… alone. I wouldn’t exactly call myself an introvert but I'm definitely not an extrovert.

My whole life, I’ve always been urged to be more, as if by being introverted, I was already less. 

“You need to shout louder!”
“We can’t hear you!”
“Just do it, it’s not that bad!” 

Well, newsflash, certain activities are hard for me. 

Now that I’m older, I realize that growing up, the reason I didn’t become more involved in school or life in general was because I was afraid of looking stupid and being disliked. My solution was to avoid everything and become anonymous.

But after entering college, I realized that there were so many things I wanted to do, things that required me to put myself out there for the world to see. It was time to face my fears. 

Although I knew I needed to leave my comfort zone, I refused to become someone I was not. Introverts are awesome! We’re great listeners, we remember small details about people because we’re paying close attention to everything.... and we’re pretty cute, of course. But here's the key: You can change your actions without changing who you are inside.

At college, there are so many opportunities available. You deserve to take advantage of each and every one of them. For example, in my first year of college, I joined a small newsletter on campus. Even though I only met a few people, I still had a great time because I loved writing. After seeing all the extroverts make millions of connections and friends in their first year, I was sad that I didn’t have the same experience. However, the editor of the newsletter ended up being this year’s Orientation Chair (responsible for planning Frosh week, a week full of parties and fun activities to help incoming students settle in) and she selected me as one of their leaders! 

To be honest, I’m both excited and terrified about my new position. This experience will require me to shout, jump, and dance in front of large groups of people. (Cue heart palpitations!) As you read this, the week will have already started and I’ll probably have my hands in the air and my heart beating a mile a minute. Pray for me.

My point today is that it's okay - even healthy - to take risks and put yourself out there, even if it is the last thing you want to do. The experience might not be perfect, but I’m realizing that perfection isn’t real. It’s something we see on our Instagram feeds and think is real. But it isn’t. Nothing is ever going to go exactly to plan, so you owe it to yourself to challenge your abilities and see what you’re capable of anyway. You don’t have to become an extrovert, but don't be afraid to tell the world you’re here and you’ve got something to say. Take a chance! I know you’ll be glad you did.

Are you going to break out of your comfort zone?

What do you have planned for this year? Are you an introvert? If so, do you have any tips for fellow introverted readers wanting to leave their comfort zone? Are you struggling with the same thing? Let's talk in the comments!