Abandoning comfort zones

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College is flying by. I can’t believe I have almost completed my first semester of my freshman year. So much has occurred in the past few months I have been here at Northwestern. Friendships have started to grow, lasting memories are being created, and sleep deprivation is appearing. However, it wasn’t all like this for my first month here.

The transition to college is one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. I don’t overly care for being away from home for long periods of time, so this was a new challenge for me. I was placed into a totally new environment amongst people I have never met. Wow, was I nervous. I think I had butterflies in my stomach for the entire first week. Over time, people were beginning to get comfortable and transitioning well into the college life. However, I was beginning to feel alone, and I did what I normally do when in situations like this–I isolated myself from others.

A little thing about me is that I’m extremely shy; I am the definition of an introvert. If you’re also like this, don’t fret, college is overwhelming at first but it’s an awesome experience after you adjust.

Anyway, I was feeling homesick and a lack of connection with guys in the dorm. It was tough to feel as if I didn’t belong. I didn’t want to open up, and interactions were awkward because I didn’t have much to say. I was stuck in this lonely mindset for the first few weeks here. But things were about to change, thanks to one night at praise and worship, which is an awesome time on Sunday nights to let everything on your mind be put off and praise God for an hour. (P&W is one of my highlights of NWC so far.) The speaker that night talked about his freshman year and how he spent most of it isolated from others. He wasn’t intentional about meeting new people. He described this as one of his greatest regrets and mistakes out of the three years he had already spent on campus. I realized I needed to abandon my comfort zones and be intentional about getting involved within the dorms and around campus.

This mentality helped me find new friends. I even found one of my closest friends here.

If there was one thing I wish I would have known going into this year, it is that I needed to get out of my comfort zone. There are so many people in your dorm who want to get to know you, but you must open up to them and allow them to connect with you. Community–it’s the word you will hear all the time around Northwestern. But it’s true, the community here is like no other. You will discover so many relationships within your dorm and around the campus with professors who invest so much into each of their students. Community is a strong characteristic of the Northwestern campus.

My recommendation for future Northwestern students, or college students in general, is to get out of your comfort zone and to not be afraid of being yourself. The transition into college is going to be less difficult if you come into your freshman year having already abandoned any comfort zones you have.

Wherever you may go, my hope for you is that you will find a college that feels like home away from home, just as I have found here at Northwestern.