It’s a quote seen all over social media in varying ways but always along the lines of “the magic happens when you get outside of your comfort zone” and I could not agree more. I’m the kind of person who’s extremely shy in crowds when I know no one but outgoing when I’m in a group of people I’m comfortable around. And when I’m in a new situation and out of my comfort zone, I can feel really nervous and quite emotional. I was the child who called home in the middle of the night to get picked up from any sleepover I attempted. And I always hated going to summer hockey camps and trying out for new teams. I remember trying to hold the tears back in the locker room and during the drills, because I hated the feeling of being alone. After making it through the first hour, things would start to look up and I always ended up really enjoying myself. I made incredible friendships, was apart of great teams, and developed my hockey skills well enough to be recruited by NCAA universities.
Fast forward 10 years and my parents have just moved me in to my dorm room in Plattsburgh. Unknowingly, we moved in on the Friday while pretty much everyone else moves in on the Saturday of Move-In Weekend. I cried myself to sleep after we said our goodbyes on the first night and for the first half of the next day. I felt lost, alone, and extremely scared. I didn’t even know where to go to get breakfast! I survived the night and the next morning I asked someone how to get to the dining hall. As the day went on and I met the rest of my freshman class and teammates, my nerves gradually disappeared. The first few weeks were filled with unknowns and too many learning experiences to count. Over the next four years, I learned to embrace the unknowns and take every new experience as an opportunity to grow. My years at Plattsburgh State really shaped me into who I am and who I want to be. The memories and friends I made are lifelong. I know now that my university experience would never have been the same had I not taken the risk to go to a university in a different country where I knew no one.
It’s four days after my graduation from Plattsburgh and Mad and I have just checked into our hostel in London after our first meeting with the Contiki crew. We’re about to have an incredible three weeks travelling around Europe and some of the most fun I have ever had but I am feeling so nervous and homesick. Even though I have my best friend with me, it’s still a situation where I have no idea what to expect and barely know anyone in the group. Luckily, I once again survived a scary first night and the next three weeks turned out to be life changing. We both really caught the travel bug and I realized I wanted to see and experience as much of the world as I possibly could. Our contiki tour set the foundation for my current location and everything I’ve experienced during the first seven months of this year. By putting myself in an uncomfortable situation, I allowed myself the opportunity to see new places and try new things and I realized I loved every single minute of it.
When I arrived home from our Contiki trip, I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I eventually decided on a working holiday in Australia after the completion of my Masters. Of course, my fears followed me on my flight to Sydney last December. I was in tears during my connection in the Vancouver airport and completely questioning my decision to take the year off instead of finding a real “big-girl” job. I’m so happy I overcame my fears and took the leap to just do what I wanted to do. This year has been the best year of my life and by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I was able to realize what I want from my life, both personally and professionally. I’m coming home in two weeks with so much clarity that I know I wouldn’t have, had I settled into a job and location where I was comfortable.
I’m the first to admit that it’s scary to do something you’ve never done or to go somewhere you’ve never been. My best piece of advice? Always remember that the hardest part is making it through the first night. Once you do, you’ll realize that the reward and what you stand to gain is always more than worth the risk.
We'd love to hear from you- feel free to share a time when you've gotten out of your comfort zone and tried something new!
Lots of love,