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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

I have spent every summer for as long as I can remember either reading in my backyard with my aunt and sisters or working six days a week and crashing in my bed on the seventh. This summer was different. This summer, I broke out of my comfort zone in every possible way and in the process, I learned more about myself and what I do and don’t like. Every experience had its highs and lows but in the end, I don’t regret a single decision as everything led to a lesson learned.  

Got a New Job  

Getting a job and even switching jobs is something students do frequently, but for me, it was a terrifying experience. I had only ever had one job which is where I worked for the last five years. I was comfortable there, as I knew every aspect of the job. Something I knew about myself was that I hated doing things I was bad at. It frustrated me, and as someone with severe anxiety it stressed me out. I had to accept that when you start a new job, you’re going to be bad at it. But after making the decision to apply to new places, I received a job offer that allowed me to work in the city I went to school. The first few weeks of the job left me in tears, as I made mistakes and missed my old coworkers and job but once I got into it, I found aspects of it I liked and made connections with my coworkers. In the end, it got me over my fear of trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone and while I still missed my old job, I enjoyed experiencing the new one as well.  

Lived Alone for Two Months 

Receiving a job offer outside my home city meant having to move away earlier than I had planned. It meant moving into my apartment which I was planning on sharing with my friends come the school year, two months earlier than them. This forced me to live alone for the first time in my life. My mother always used to say her time living alone in her twenties was the best experience of her life. I never understood that until this past summer. Living alone forced me to do things such as grocery shop, cleaning and planning my days by myself. Any bit of spare time I had was completely up to me and what I decided to do. I spent days in the park reading alone and took myself on solo shopping trips. I discovered that I loved hanging out with myself and that not having to rely on anyone else for my daily happiness was an incredible thing. I became my own best friend and enjoyed every minute of it.  

Went to the Gym Frequently 

I had never been an active person. I never played sports and hated any form of physical exercise. Towards the end of the school year, I began going to the gym sporadically with my roommates but never truly enjoyed it. At the beginning of the summer, I took the plunge and got a personal trainer for a few sessions to teach me the basics of the gym. I was so weak; I wanted to be strong and capable of more things physically. The smallest dumbbells were too heavy for me and I felt discouraged. But because I was alone all summer, I spent my free time at the gym. Eventually, it became the highlight of my day. I went every day that I could and ate enough to put on muscle. By the end of the summer, I could feel how much stronger my legs were and saw a muscle in my arms. The pride I got from knowing I did that all myself was something I had never felt before. Not only were there physical differences, but I felt mentally stronger as well. Pushing myself while also knowing how to take care of myself was a lesson I didn’t expect to learn from joining a gym, but one I am happy I did.  

Changed my Physical Appearance 

I was a person stuck in my ways about how I looked. I always conformed to what society thought I should look like. This summer, I decided to turn the other way and do what I wanted to do. I began the summer by colouring my hair, going from a light brown and blonde balayage to full black hair. It was a bold move, one in which everyone told me I needed to think about more. But I had always wanted to do this, and I thought it was time. The colouring of my hair was a simple, yet revolutionary experience. It made me so much more confident, and I felt better about myself all summer. This allowed me to gain the confidence to get more tattoos and start buying the clothes I wanted. Not feeling the pressure of what other people thought was a weight off my shoulders. As someone who always made decisions based on what others thought, it was freeing to finally make decisions solely based on my own ideas. This was something I never would have gotten if I wasn’t forced to live alone for two months.  

Overall, the summer was full of pushing me outside my comfort zone and seeing what was beyond my limitations. There were stressful days and hard times, but there were also days I knew I’d remember forever. It was not the summer I was planning on having, but it was one of my favourite and most life-changing ones. I now feel more secure in who I am and where I’m going. I recommend for everyone take the plunge and try a new job, move out or start something new. It might seem daunting and scary in the beginning, but the reward of learning new things pays off in the end.  

Kaileigh Klein

Wilfrid Laurier '25

My name is Kaileigh & I am a communication studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. I am the Vice President of Writing for our Her Campus chapter & love everything there is about writing. My career goals range from journalism to marketing, with interests in all creative fields as I love reading, writing and content creating. I love reality TV & am a huge gym rat, as the gym is my favourite place to be. I am also quite obsessed with Taylor Swift & true crime podcasts.