Since coming to college I've experienced a plethora of new things. I am not typically one who embraces change or steps out of my comfort zone willingly, and I do not always seek new opportunities or asks questions as I should. But that's what makes the college experience so unique. If you don't embrace change or seek new opportunities, you're left struggling to stay afloat in a sea of new faces.
There are a couple of things I've found to be helpful when thrown into new circumstances.
1. Embrace the change - get in the right mentality, first.
Mindset is everything. If you know change is on the horizon, start mentally preparing yourself for it. Attitude and outcome directly correlate. Going into a new situation with a positive attitude can dramatically alter the outcome.
Recently, I learned about optimism bias. Essentially, the optimism bias states that optimistic people are more likely to experience positive results. This is due to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-fulfilling prophecy is the idea that expectations cause individuals to act in ways that serve to make the exceptions come true.
2. Find ways to intentionally step out of your comfort zone.
Often times stepping out of our comfort zones can seem like the scariest thing imaginable. Most of the times we fear being dragged outside our comfort zone because we like control.
However, the best way to absolve this fear is to do the polar opposite. Take an intentional step outside your comfort zone, that way you are in control of your decision.
Deciding to step outside your comfort zone can be one of the most rewarding experiences. The amount of growth and confidence that come with hurdling a new challenge is immeasurable.
Start small and then build on each step. Next thing you know, you'll turn around to see you left your comfort zone miles behind you.
3. Ask questions.
More often than not, I like to sit back and observe. I'm not usually the one to ask questions, for I operate on the mentality that "someone else will probably ask my question." Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. So, recently, I've learned to start biting the bullet, and I ask my question.
It's okay not to know all the answers, so ask questions. You might just be surprised how much you learn.
4. Seek out new opportunities.
Try new things. Explore and experiment.
One of the things I've discovered in my time at college is that now is the time to figure things out. Now is the time to test new ideas and chase new adventures.
I have no idea what sort of career I want to go into post-graduation. However, I'm in the process of figuring it out. Through trying new things (like working for my school's newspaper and joining the Academic Integrity Council) I am slowing finding what I love to do. I am inching my way to the finish line, and I may not be taking the most direct route, but I'll get there.
The best way to find what you are passionate about is to embrace new opportunities and seek out new challenges.