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Second semester at SLU brings not only a new course load, but also SpringFest, Liberty League and National Championships, and the arrival of warm weather. It is also a time to form new friendships, become involved in an extracurricular, and focus on being your best self. As I reflect on my time as a second semester freshman, I recognize the value of exploring outside of your comfort zone.

Typically, fall semester is a time where we face the challenges of meeting new people, making new friends, and becoming involved in new activities. For most, this requires a bit of a risk. But as the holidays approach, confidence is built, routines are formed, and comfort zones are established.

As we begin second semester, naturally we are hesitant to challenge ourselves to move even further out of our comfort zones yet another time. As creatures of habit, we jump right back into the same social circles, extracurricular activities, and routines. The fear of potentially distancing yourself from the friends you worked so hard to make a few months before, of possibly over committing yourself to an activity, or of risking a change to the reputation you established for yourself, are all very valid worries that almost everybody encounters.

Last spring my FYS was filled with mostly unfamiliar faces. There were two girls in my class that I thought were really nice although I never challenged myself to ask them to hang out after class. Luckily for me, I was given a second chance to pursue the friendship. Believe it or not, this past Fall these two girls and I became members of the same sorority and they have become some of my closest friends.

I am very thankful that I made those friendships with 5 semesters left at SLU. Often I have heard seniors say that they first met some of their best friends during the last month of their SLU career. Typically, those new friends were either involved with different social circles or extracurricular activities. Those seniors have said that they wish they had pushed outside of their comfort zone earlier. This is because maybe they would have had three years instead of one last month at SLU with their new friends.

With great confidence I can say that if you trust your gut, stay true to your character, and pursue what makes you happy, you will be forever grateful for the risks you take. Be proactive, meet new people, challenge yourself beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.

You never know, your future best friends may be right in front of you.

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