I’ve always kind of struggled with “out there”. You know how people say to “put yourself out there”? That’s terrifying to think about. For me, anyways. I’ve never been comfortable in social settings or being around people I don’t know. In fact, I tend to experience quite a bit of anxiety whenever I’m alone in a new place. This makes college really hard at times. Here, you have two options: Either sit in your dorm room/apartment all day every day, only going to classes/work never interacting with anyone ever, or pushing yourself past where you’ve always found comfort and going out there. Out there, where people don’t know you. Out there in the crowded room, where you feel zero’d in and silently judged by everyone around you (even though that’s not happening). Out there, where fear ices up your veins while simultaneously making you sweat; where you know you need to be, but you don’t really want to be. Out there is the epitome of the unknown. But you go and, while it might take more time than you’d like, you somehow somewhere find new comfort and new friends. Just try not to close up in the process of getting there.
Last year, I only ever stayed in my dorm. I didn’t try out any new churches, because I was always “too busy” doing something else. I didn’t go to hall events because I was too tired. I put on my headphones and rewatched old TV episodes I’d already seen a thousand times before. Basically, I lived a passive life made up of loneliness and sad music. I was so scared of going and joining clubs and so self conscious about what would happen if I actually did go out and try something new that I stayed closed off and alone. In essence, that left me at a stand still. Now, I’m not saying throw yourself at every club and event you can when you get to school and/or a new place in your life, but I am saying to not sit idly by and just expect everyone from out there to come to you. Because they won’t. And you’ll end the year only knowing a few people here and there and wondering what might’ve been if you had gone out there. Yeah, it’s scary to go there. And yeah, it might not always go well. You might get tired, you might regret it and hate it, but you also might have the best time of your life. You might find your home, your niche, your family. You might, without even trying, end up happy. And that, I think, makes the anxious fingers and pulled at hair worth it.
This year, I’m venturing out there. I’m getting involved. I’m pushing myself. As anxious as it makes me, I’m consciously going forth and making myself do the things that I was so scared of last year. Frankly, I’m still scared. The difference is that I’m not letting it stop me. It’s not always a fun experience, sometimes it all goes wrong and I feel even worse than when I began, but that’s apart of life. The ups and downs, the highs and the lows, the awkward and the comfortable, the smiles and the tears. That’s life. And life is made to be lived and breathed and taken full advantage of. So while out there might make me feel a little nauseous at times, I know that it’s better than being closed off and alone in my room. I don’t want to end my years at college with only a diploma to show for it. I want connections, I want relationships and friendships and development and growth. I want to live my life and give it everything I have.
It all only lasts for so long. So get out there and get things done.