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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSC chapter.

How do you work up the courage to try new things?

Trying new things can be scary. It’s normal to be afraid of unfamiliar things, but it’s important to recognize that expanding your comfort zone is necessary for growth. It’s critical to recognize that fear will only hold you back. You’re so much bigger than your fear. Since going in all at once isn’t the best way to approach obstacles, start with baby steps. You don’t always need to take a giant leap — any step forward is something to be proud of! For example, if you want to go to a fun virtual event but think it might be awkward, ask a friend if they’d be willing to attend the event with you so you’ll feel more comfortable seeing a familiar face there. Or if you want to venture into hiking as a new hobby, begin by going on short, straightforward hikes and slowly work your way up to more arduous adventures. It can be difficult, but it’ll be so worth it when you can look back at how much you’ve accomplished! 


How do you get more comfortable with confrontation?

Confrontation is difficult. Some are better at it than others, but confrontation is a skill you can improve with practice. First, figure out all the things you can gain by confrontation. If you’re faced by confronting an issue or person, how will you benefit by tackling the issues instead of suppressing your discontent? Things you have the potential to gain include peace of mind, reduced stress and anxiety, respect, better relationships, etc. It’s important to remember that confrontation can be good for your relationships. Cultivating confrontational skills helps build more honest relationships built on openness. 


Next, make sure to prepare a plan beforehand. If you’re a confrontation novice, don’t go in unprepared. While confrontation doesn’t necessarily need to be rehearsed, going over points you want to say can be especially helpful in making you feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. For me, I really like writing down exactly what I want to say beforehand, and I always make sure to highlight key points. Especially when I’m confronting a sensitive issue that makes me feel emotional, I’ve found that writing things down helps me be clearer and more articulate in how I express my feelings about a particular situation. 


Finally, always use “I” statements when expressing how you feel. This is important in avoiding blame and in being as honest as possible when expressing how you feel. You won’t master confrontation overnight, and that’s okay and to be expected. Progress is progress, no matter how small. 


How do you tell the people around you to take a break now and then?

Taking breaks is extremely important for maintaining well-being. It’s important to take a step back and take some much-needed time for yourself. Be sure to tell the people around you that you want them to take a break because you care about them. If they seem stressed out, express how you think taking a break can help alleviate some of their tension. Even a short 5 to 10 minute pacing break can do wonders, and it’s better than nothing.

Howdy! I'm Jackie, and I'm a third-year History and Politics double major and Education minor at UCSC. I'm also the Events Director of HerCampus at UCSC. In my free time, I enjoy reading, knitting, listening to 80's music, and squirrel-watching!