Mind Map: Putting Yourself Out There

It's the start of a new year and the thought comes to mind: I need to put myself out there more. We all say it to ourselves, whether that involves joining clubs, experiencing activities, or expanding your friend circle. Craving more adventure than we are typically used to, we search for something fresh, something new. We want to learn, grow, and hopefully be inspired along the way. We want to find a home. Often times though, we have no clue where our destination is or how to get there. It can get tricky to mix the old with the new. Let's take a look at the map of the year and take a journey together.

The “What do I want to do with my life?” Phase

You find your way to the semi-annual Student Involvement Fair and scout out a plethora of clubs you could join. Acapella, Accounting Society, Ad Club, American Sign Language Club, and you've only made it through the A's. After making eye contact with the person sitting down at the table, you feel compelled to at least look at their super rad, totally stellar club. You put your name down on every list that you are asked to sign. Out of everything you looked at, there's bound to be something you like, right?

The “I’m going to try out everything imaginably possible” Phase

Now that you've received numerous emails and Facebook event invites, you have to make some decisions about which clubs you plan to attend. You also agree to continue the activities you are already in. You're going to try absolutely everything, no matter how crazy it sounds. Go ahead, get a vibe for each organization. You end up having a good time everywhere you go, but you’re still not sure if all of these clubs are for you.

The “Reflection" Phase

Fast-forward five weeks into school. Between academics and activities, the time management is getting tough. Meeting everyone has been an absolute blast, but you’re having trouble keeping up with it all physically, mentally, and emotionally. You still attend every club meeting, figuring you’ll push through it. It will be a “growing experience”. There are many moments where you assure yourself that what you are doing will grow to fit you. Finally arriving home after a long day, you are tired and feel slightly off. Something in your gut doesn’t feel right.

The “Quality Over Quantity” Phase

Yes, it is incredibly important to put yourself out there. Yes, you should expand yourself beyond what you think your boundaries are. But, you’re trying so hard to be everywhere at once that you’ve lost sight of who you are and where you are going. There is a difference between putting yourself out there and forcing yourself to do something. It’s okay to look at what you are doing and realize "Hey, maybe this isn’t for me." Finding this out can be extremely challenging, especially when it is something you have wanted for so long or gave so much of your time to. Also, just because something isn’t in your focus right now, doesn't mean it won’t be for you later. As humans, we are constantly changing, and therefore our beliefs and interests change. It’s life; make the most of it with the time that you have.

The “Finding You” Phase 

There’s going to be moments where you feel perfectly at home and there’ll be some moments where you have no clue where you are, where you are going, or how you want to get there. It’s a process and if you look back on your life, you’ll find that it has happened before. You are a person who has different hobbies, diverse interests, and unique perspectives. Take time to enrich the things that make you, you. It might not always involve the activities that your friends want to pursue. That can be scary, but we are all bound to stretch out on our own path and grow. We’ll meet new people, try new things, and somehow find a life in it all. Follow your passions; they are the things that make you light up when you share them with people. Taking one single step out of your comfort zone can change your whole life. If you do this, I guarantee you that you will be totally surprised and eventually end up right where you are suppose to be.