The Power of Discomfort
Think back to your first few weeks of college. Remember all the awkward first conversations you had with people in your classes. All the events you showed up to where you knew absolutely nobody. All the meals you had alone while wishing you had your friends to eat with. All the times when you felt lonely and craved for nothing more than to find your place on campus.
Coming into college from high school, everyone feels at least slightly out of place. We’re suddenly thrown from the environment we’ve known our whole lives into an entirely different atmosphere and are immediately bombarded with all sorts of challenges, both academic and social. Throughout the first few days and weeks of college, or maybe even longer, trying to find a place where we fit in is at the top of almost everyone’s priority list. We’re constantly faced with anxiety-inducing situations and we live for the moments when we get a glimpse of the comfortable lifestyle we lived before coming to college.
Whether it’s hanging around all of your friends from high school who came to college with you, talking to your family on the phone, or just laying in bed and watching your favorite show on Netflix like you used to do at home, we all have our own ways of finding comfort in the unknown world of college. It’s easy to lean on these experiences and before we know it we’ve become too comfortable to the point when comfort becomes complacency. At least, I for sure did.
I constantly spent time doing things I was comfortable with, and thought that just being at college and going to classes was enough. What I found, though, is that the moments in which I was forced to face uncomfortable situations were when I found the most personal growth. I didn’t grow as a person from simply attending classes and studying, but I grew from forcing myself to talk to new people and seeking out new experiences. Everyone has their own things that make them anxious, but it’s important to lean into those moments of discomfort, especially when coming to college for the first time.
It can be easy to think that feeling uncomfortable is our mind’s way of warning us against potential embarrassment or anxiety. Instead, try thinking of discomfort as a symbol of growth. We all have stories of when we embraced uncertainty and the anxiety that came along with it and became better people as a result. We can’t lose sight of those experiences or of the power of discomfort, not just when undergoing drastic changes in our life such as starting college, but even just in daily life. At the end of the day, it’s important to keep in mind that we can’t grow as people if we’re not even the slightest bit uncomfortable.