Why Trying New Things Is Worthwhile

In my first semester of college, I, like most college freshmen, was a bit naïve about the world, especially since I had come from a rural small town. I was aware of the fact that my hometown was a bubble, as I had been told many times that it was isolated from all the “bad things” in cities, but I didn’t have a really good idea of what that meant when I was young.

I started to get an idea of what it meant when, in my senior government class, I voiced an opinion about an issue that apparently ran contrary to the views of my peers. I was a shy person and up to that point, I hadn’t wanted to deviate from the norm. But I was a bit surprised at how my classmates were eager to shout me down whenever I mentioned a different idea than what they were used to.

After that, other details that had previously escaped my notice began to stand out to me. I noticed that a lot of my classmates’ conversations seemed to lean one way and to leave out certain details that complicated whatever point they were making. I recalled that another classmate of mine had been shot down for suggesting legalization of same-sex marriage a few years before. I began to realize that some of the arguments my classmates made were based on inaccurate sources that really only needed to align with their views to be considered relevant by them.

Going to college, which I’d been warned was a “liberal breeding ground”, was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. Not only did being exposed to new ideas and new places make me realize that I wanted something different out of life than what I had been considering before, it also shattered the black and white views I’d had.

Photo Credit

New experiences not only open your mind to things you never even realized you loved before you’d tried them, but also world issues that had previously seemed far away to you. As I said before, I was pretty naïve about the world even with access to the internet and to information about current events. I remember being catcalled for the first time when I was eighteen and I remember being very confused about it.  I had had no idea what had just happened and I wondered if I had been right to feel uncomfortable about it. I later found out that it happens to other girls too and while it was something of a comfort to know that I was not alone in feeling uncomfortable, I now believed that my own beliefs and intuitions weren’t so silly as I had previously thought. After interacting with people from an entire different side of the world as well as the political spectrum, I not only learned more about how others’ experiences and perspectives matter, but also about how much my own matter as well.

Isolated small towns aren’t the only places you’ll encounter close-minded people and resistance to your point of view, though. Throughout the world, the desire to conform and to not hear out a different viewpoint has an iron grip on many people who don’t even realize it. It’s tempting to want to stay where you are, to ignore new insight and to resist growing as a person because it takes less effort to hold firmly to your original convictions.

I get it, new territory is scary. Throughout my life, I’ve held back from things because of skepticism and fear. But I’ve also taken chances that have ended up changing my life for the better. I’ve tried new things, made new friends, and discovered parts of myself that I never knew existed. I have a better sense of who I am now that I’ve stepped out of my comfort zones. To this day, I’m still a bit introverted and shy, but I’m now less fearful of the world and of the unknown. The fear still exists, but I can better manage it now. I’ve decided that life is about stepping out of your comfort zone and having whatever expectations you had shattered. It’s true what they say, that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and new experiences, whether they end up being hits or they end up being misses, are usually worth a shot.