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Experiences

How Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone has Helped Me Grow

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The phenomenon of “stepping out of your comfort zone” is often applauded and shown as a sign of strength, determination, and grit. And I completely agree. It is not easy to put yourself in a situation where you have a little bit of uncertainty or where you don’t feel completely confident. However, doing these actions is a conscious decision. We could just continue on a flat road with the same daily routine where we are always aware of what is gonna happen next. Yet, people don’t do that. It might sound relaxing to always stay on this “easy street,” but personally, I think it also sounds a little boring. There is something thrilling about challenging yourself, even though it may be uncomfortable and there is nothing better than the accomplishment you feel when you get through it.

When I first started college, I thought I understood what my “comfort zone” was. However, more recently, I have begun to realize that every action I do begins as one that is out of my “comfort zone.” I used to never raise my hand to answer questions in class, no matter how many times I checked that my answer was correct, for fear of getting it wrong. Now, I enjoy participating because it keeps me more engaged in class. I used to get stressed about sending Professors emails because I was intimidated by them. Now, I work closely with a Professor in my research lab and have gotten used to having one on one conversations with them. Freshman year I would rather skip a meal than go to the dining hall alone. Most of this year, I have spent a lot of my meals eating by myself and couldn’t care less. 

Without realizing it, the more I did things that made me uncomfortable, the more comfortable I got doing them. It not only made me more confident in myself and my skills but also assured me that trying new things that are challenging will only get easier the more I try them. This semester I signed up for a French course on nineteenth-century poetry. I would say poetry and literary analysis is not a strength of mine in English, let alone French, so that first day of class I felt out of place. I was so out of my “comfort zone” that I was almost gonna drop the course until I remembered all the other times I have felt like this and with time how this feeling goes away. Three weeks later and I am still in the course, still nervous, but challenging myself to participate in every class and feeling more comfortable each time I raise my hand. 

College really is the time to challenge ourselves, and whether you realize it or not, everyone is doing things that make them feel slightly uncomfortable and growing because of it. Thinking back on freshman year, I am fairly confident that most people can think of a time they felt stressed, nervous, or uneasy about something. However, when you look back on it now, it was such a small moment. The fact of the matter is, there will always be ways I can challenge myself and become better from it. And, yes, it will probably make me uncomfortable and I might not be completely confident with it. However, as I have already experienced, that feeling goes away. And the more I step out of my “comfort zone” the more comfortable I get at feeling uncomfortable.

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Julia Hershelman

U Mass Amherst '23

Julia is a junior and this is her second semester being a part of Her Campus. She is a microbiology major and hoping to minor in french as well. In her free time she loves hanging out with family, going for walks with her dogs, and working out.
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