If anyone knows me they know I love routine. I love planning out my schedule, knowing where I need to be and what time I need to be there. Anything that gets off schedule seems like a catastrophe and throws off my day. Over the course of the last few weeks, I've been busy trying to figure out how to fit class, work, studying, and extracurriculars into my agenda without overloading myself. Turns out that I'm not invincible and plans often change like the wind. Learning how to break out of my comfort zone has been a difficult process but more rewarding than I've ever imagined. Suffering through periods of uncertainty is not fun, yet being hopeful to make it through the storm makes the journey worthwhile. In order to seek change, we have to be willing to sail our boat in uncharted waters to reach the final destination.

Everyone has their own comfort zone implying familiarity, safety, and security. We like to stay in our own bubbles and hate to break away from familiar situations that make us feel secure. While creating a comfort zone is a healthy adaptation for our lives, so is stepping out from social norms to experience transition and growth. Those who choose to stay wrapped up in their own little cocoon are missing out on the bigger picture of life. Challenging ourselves to meet new people, travel to new places, and tackle new risks allows us to transform and define our own personal meaning of life. Simply put, those who fear to step out of their comfort zone will never succeed in overcoming hurdles and obstacles. We have to be willing to rise to the occasion in order to adapt and accomplish something new.

Coming to college, I had a picture-perfect image of what I wanted my experience at Alabama to look like. I imagined myself being best friends with my roommates, having the time of my life at football tailgates, and reaching the perfect balance between academics and work to achieve my career goals. Though I did have fun at most of the football games, college life portrayed in the movies is nothing like real life. Living in a small town, I was comfortable being around the same people and knowing my surroundings in high school. I believed that moving to UA would give me a more diverse college experience in order to make connections and discover other things that might catch my interest.

What I didn't believe to be so difficult coming to university was that I immediately became a small fish in a big pond out of my regular routine. In order to be a leader on campus, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and accept new challenges so that I would grow. In result, each milestone I took made it easier to achieve another goal thanks to confidence and determination.

While the thought of leaving our comfort zone can be uncomfortable, the result of staying in our own bubble leaves us stagnant and unwilling to adapt. Those who search for opportunities for growth, advancement, and fun will be better able to achieve their goals striving towards success. In times of stress or discomfort, we are to be reminded that some of the best things result from stepping out of our comfort zones. Don't be afraid to take new risks in life. Challenge yourself to run a marathon. Apply for a new job. Travel to a new place. You never know what you might experience if you never take the first step.