Alyssa Rosenthal: Step out of your comfort zone

If there’s one piece of advice I can give you for next year, it is to get outside of your comfort zone as soon as possible.

Almost all freshmen share the same first feelings of anxiety when they finally get settled on campus. And sometimes that homesickness stops us from doing things that make us step out a little further than we’re used to.

But taking that step outside of your normal boundaries is what college is all about.

Sure it’s also about adapting to a new life, but it’s also about finding what you love – even in unusual or unexpected places.

My biggest regret is definitely not signing up for every activity I was interested in and not trying them out earlier. Because by the middle of my first semester, I was bored, lost and a little homesick. It was not until finals rolled around that I realized how much I was missing. Suddenly, all my friends were busy with activities, but I wasn’t.

By second semester, I learned my lesson, and I set out to do what I should have done when I stepped on campus back in late August: everything.

I joined clubs, attended events and even tried out for an a cappella group.

Sure, half the things I did simply fell through, but through those experiences, I found the things I really enjoyed. And they weren’t in the places I expected to find them.

Out of the blue, I decided to sign up for a club. I did not even understand the meaning of the club’s name, AIESEC – it’s French for Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales. When they asked each of us why we had joined, I shrugged and told them it sounded interesting.

But that’s what college is all about.

You have the chance of a lifetime to shrug and tell someone you joined just to see what happens next. There’s no agenda, no set plan – just curiosity and interest.

And with that one simple step, I found something I really enjoyed. I met people from different places, different cultures and different lifestyles who all had at least one common interest.

There are many things that will happen in your first year of college, including a rush of sudden independence that may seem unusual. But there are a couple of things you should always remember when this happens: First, you are not the only one feeling this way, and second, there’s no turning back, so just take a step forward.

It was only after I realized that I could not remain in the past that I finally gained enough courage to take that step into the mysterious abyss GW offers.

That’s why I dare you, as a member of the Class of 2015, to find what you love outside of your set boundaries.

-The writer, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

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