Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why it's Important to Feel Uncomfortable

My mom sent me this article the other day, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Even though I've been away from home for a year, leaving home is always a little bit difficult. Home is where the heart is. There's no getting away from that. It's natural to want to go home and see your family (I hope everyone gets to experience those feelings!) However, as time goes on, you've got to learn to start letting go.

My family

At the end of freshman year, most of my friends packed up their dorm rooms and returned to their hometowns for the summer. I, however, packed up my dorm room and moved into a dingy apartment just down the street, in preparation to spend my summer in hotter-than-hell Mid-Missouri to obtain Missouri residency. I wasn't too keen on the idea at first. I longed to spend the summer in my hometown, return to the job I had in high school as a hostess, and have my mom cook my meals and do my laundry for me. That was what was familiar. That was what would be comfortable. 

Staying in Columbia this past summer was a fulfilling experience in more ways than one. Yes, it was uncomfortable at times. Yes, it was a little bit lonely. But, gosh, I grew in so many ways.

I worked as an intern at State Farm Insurance Companies. I was a copywriter in Creative Services, and worked on a variety of internal and external communication pieces. I worked from 8-4:15, M-F, with a 30 minute lunch break each day. It was definitely an adjustment at first. Waking up at (what I considered to be) the crack of dawn and working all day took some getting used to. Even more of a challenge was the fact that I was working remotely, and communicated with my department solely via e-mail, IM, and phone. 

Starting the internship and working with coworkers who were much older than me and who had much more experience wasn't comfortable at first. There were times where I was frustrated and confused and felt like everything I wrote wasn't good enough. However, the internship was an incredible experience and has opened so many doors for me. I have a nice portfolio of work, letters of recommendation, and continue to work for the company part-time. I now have a better idea of where I want to go in the field of journalism. Those first couple of days of discomfort were rough, but they were absolutely worth it. 

Adjusting to living in an apartment was challenging. Learning how to cook for myself, stick to a budget, and get into a cleaning routine took some getting used to. However, I'm so glad I had the summer to get used to apartment life. I'm living in an apartment this year, and the transition from dorm to apartment living was easier since I already had experience from the summer. 

As I mentioned earlier, most of my friends returned home for the summer, so there weren't that many people in Columbia. Luckily, I shared the apartment with Natasha, who I became friends with during freshman year. I also got the opportunity to become closer with Amanda, and I'm so glad I did! If I hadn't have spent my summer in CoMo, we probably wouldn't have become such great friends. Just one more way that being a little bit uncomfortable can lead to something fruitful.

Amanda and I

As I write this post, I have college freshman close to my heart. You've been on campus for about two weeks now. You might still be reeling from the loss of your comfortable childhood bed and room and your mom's home-cooked meals. You may be missing all your high school friends and just want to hop in the car and make the three hour and forty-five minute drive home to go to the Friday night football game because you just feel so uncomfortable here and you don't think it will ever feel like home. As tempting as it is to run home these first couple of weekends, don't. A person can't feel comfortable all the time. Sometimes it's actually a good thing to feel uncomfortable. Step outside of your comfort zone. Reach out to some new people you've never talked to before. You'll only feel uncomfortable for a little while, I promise. 

With the start of each new year and each new semester, little changes take place that cause us to feel uncomfortable. You may feel as if you just got settled in your dorm and all of a sudden it's time to move into your new apartment. (Guilty!) Or maybe you just mastered college algebra and this semester you are taking Calculus. Whatever the discomfort, it's good for us. It causes us to become more flexible, expand our horizons, and seize new opportunities. 

If I could give one piece of advice to incoming college freshman, I think it would be "be willing to be uncomfortable."

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.


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