What Sophomore Year Has Taught Me

2018 was my second year of college and my first year at The University of Delaware. If I could describe the past 12 months in the briefest way possible, I would say it was a time of breaking free of my comfort zone.

Transferring was out of my comfort zone. When I first started school at Penn State, only remaining for a year was not an option for me. And yet, now over a year ago I submitted my transfer request and application and today am at the school that my childhood self always dreamed of attending. Being this close to home was always scary to me. Yet here I am, making the absolute best of it.

Getting new roommates was out of my comfort zone, and yet in August I met people that would turn out to become some of my best friends. It just so happened, we shared a suite in the Ray Street complex here at Delaware. I was closed off freshman year, perhaps because of my shy nature or due to my insecurities, however allowing myself to become more open has made me a better person.

This year, I have learned to try absolutely everything thrown my way. Although it may sound dangerous, no great story ever came from rejecting things to do. From refraining from staying in on Friday nights like I used to to embarking on a study abroad to backpacking around England for a week, I put myself in the mindset that saying no was a poor, boring option and instead, just did things that the old me would have said no to out of fear of leaving my comfort zone.

Studying abroad was out of my comfort zone. Although I had gone on a more controlled trip with People to People, I had never been granted such freedom while abroad before since this past January. Last summer I had traveled around Italy for a few weeks with my mother, however that was comfortable for me. While studying abroad, I often had the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted with no restraints. I spent frivolous amounts of money on wine and pizza, escaped the group in Venice to see the barrier islands which ended up being quite a difficult excursion to navigate, and even guided the majority of my group on a weekend trip to Cinque Terre.

Backpacking around England was out of my comfort zone, however it ended up being one of the most rewarding trips of my life. Although it had it’s faults, it taught me that I am an incredibly able traveler. Staying in hostels is no longer something I worry about and neither is using public transportation like trains and busses.

This summer, I am teaching English in Italy. Although it is scary I look forward to the opportunity and to see where this gets me in my future. Maybe I’ll end up being a teacher. Who really knows! If anything, this year has taught me that I am capable of anything so long as I escape my comfort zone.