Maybe it’s just me, but every time I start something new, there’s always this pit of dread brewing in my stomach. Of course, before anything is confirmed, I’m endlessly excited about it and rearing to go at any moment’s notice. But once something is confirmed — say, going to a new school, or going on exchange for the first time, or taking on a new part time job — I always find myself thinking the same exact thing: I don’t want to go.
Think about it. It’s like the first day of school is always the hardest to get through. You know absolutely nobody and no one knows who you are. You’re wondering if you should say hi to the person sitting next to you, or if you should just keep to yourself. You desperately want to blend into the chair you’re sitting on.
It sucks. It’s like the first day of school — or the first day of anything, really — is designed to wear you down so much that whatever you get in the following days will be awesome in comparison.
So that’s what happened this week. At the very last minute before the portal closed, I finally accepted my exchange placement. Then I was promptly visited by this sense of dread and thoughts of “OMG WHAT IF I DIE THERE”. Both of which are irrational and really not helpful at all.
I knew I wanted the exchange placement, but somehow when I accepted it, when it’s basically set in stone, all I could say to my friend was, “I can’t tell if I’m just super scared of being alone. Or if I really don’t want to go.”
To be fair, it is a daunting experience to go somewhere far away from home (but one that I recommend we all try in our undergraduate lives, or even in our adulthood, if we can). Even if it’s just for a few months, and you know no one you’re going on this trip with, and no one who’s living there. Yes, you’ll be a fish out of water, and the water there doesn’t even taste the same as the water at home.
Except that is exactly the kind of experience you sign up for as an exchange student (not that I am one yet). Adventure is out there, kids. And you have to reach out and grab it or risk losing it.
It doesn’t have to be an exchange program. It could be a new school, a new job, a new place you’re volunteering at. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to start your own business but now that it’s underway you feel you may not be up to it. Or maybe you’re afraid you won’t be able to fit in at the new job, or find friends in your new school.
Whatever it is, there is always something stopping you from reaching out and grabbing that new experience by its horns. So I’m here to share with you a quote I found just last week.
Of course, some things require meticulous planning, but when an opportunity presents itself to you, I find it’s usually worth it to ignore that dread in your heart and just go for it.
After all, we’ve all had to awkwardly make friends before, or find a way to settle into our jobs. We’ve all had to live through the phase of not knowing anyone in some place new, or feeling so out of place because you can’t seem to fit in no matter what you do.
But if you never try, you’ll never know. So I’m going for it. And you should too.
To Fridays is a weekly column that hopes to be able to give you all the encouragement and love in the world. This week’s story is the 22nd. #tofridaysvp