You’re in your own little bubble, and everything’s okay.
But it isn’t great. Fear has a way of keeping you locked in your own emotions and your own space. It’s like a prison. You’d step outside of it if you could, but sometimes, it seems too hard to take that first step alone.
College is scary enough without stepping outside of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t have to be the bad experience you’re expecting. Use this time to your advantage by exploring your surroundings.
1. TAKE RISKS.
Try something new. This is no big mystery: you never know if you’ll like something until you’re brave enough to try. Join a club, or play a sport; do something to get you out of your head and into the campus community.
2. STOP RATIONALIZING.
Don’t make excuses for yourself. When you’re scared or uncomfortable, it’s easy to pretend that something’s “just not your thing” or that you “don’t have time for that much commitment.”
Instead, remember that everyone else is trying to fit in, too. It’s normal to feel frightened, but you can’t let it hold you back.
3. DON’T BE A PERFECTIONIST.
Remember that everyone’s a beginner at some point. Even if you try something once and end up failing miserably, don’t quit learning because you think there’s no point.
Keep working at it; you may find out that things aren’t so difficult after all.
4. BE SPONTANEOUS.
Sometimes, you can over-think your plan of action. You spend so much time charting out what activities you want to do that you feel too psyched out to follow through.
If you struggle with this kind of anxiety, relax, take a deep breath, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and try to take social events and gatherings as they come. This will also help make your interactions with other people more organic and natural, instead of stiff and rehearsed.
5. MAKE OTHERS FEEL IMPORTANT.
The end goal of stepping out of your comfort zone is to make and maintain relationships. Let’s face the facts: it’s always easier to try new things when you have a friend ready to stand beside you.
Whenever you go to a new event or visit a different organization, try to put others first. This will also keep you from feeling too wrapped up in your own needs and your emotions, and keep you connected to your fellow students.
Here’s one final thing about comfort zones: stepping out of them, actually makes them grow. Don’t let yourself get trapped in your own anxieties and insecurities.
College is the time to start making a life for yourself, and there’s more room outside of your comfort zone than inside of it. Let yourself try new things so you can build lasting relationships and explore this new stage of life.