10 months ago, I made a goal to put myself more out there. Putting myself out there, for me, meant experiencing more social interactions. The actual act of it can be considered stressful for some, especially if anxiety is a re-occurring acquaintance in your life.
During some parts of my undergrad years, my anxiety felt like it would take over, which made me avoid having a social life altogether. In my head, avoidance of a social life meant I dodged the anxieties that came with social interactions. Coming to do my postgrad here at Loughborough University, I decided that it was going to be different. I no longer wanted to feel crippled by anxiety and miss out on great memories due to inflated worries that had no belonging in my mind.
The moment I realised how far I had come in attaining my goal was the day I worked on an open-day here at Loughborough University: Standing at my post helping parents, guardians and prospective students find what they were looking for, I see a woman cross my path with a face that seemed too familiar to be one that I had only seen that day. It was my secondary school biology teacher from MALAWI!! Here I was standing in Loughborough university with my teacher I hadn’t seen in years walking right past me.
After calling her name, receiving and giving one of the biggest hugs that could have possibly be gifted, taking a picture and parting ways it came to me. “wow if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and never applied to be a student ambassador or shied away from working events I may have never seen her that day. It was amazing what the little treats life gives you when you decide to “put yourself out there” a little more.
Upon more reflection, I realised all the wonderful things that have entered my life as a result. In putting myself out there I have:
Been pleasantly surprised
There are many things I decided to do this year that I may have been too scared to do in the past. But with my new-found ambition to face what scares me I have been pleasantly surprised with what I am able to achieve when I “face my fears”. One such moment was becoming a student ambassador for the university.
It is amazing how little one actually needs to do to make friends. All it really takes is a smile and a question or 2 to kick it all off. It has been so great getting to know new people and being able to wave or stop and have a conversation with them on campus. I can truly say I have found friends I love as dearly as family here at Loughborough University
Not only has putting myself out there opened me up to making friends and getting to know people with diverse backgrounds, it has also allowed me to network, possibly opening doors in the future, which is always exciting.
Become more confident
I have found that the more times I put myself out there, the less nerve wrecking it gets and the more confident I feel. I like to think the increased confidence has helped me with not only social interactions outside of work and university, but also within them.
Going forward, I will continue to try and do the things that scare me, because nothing is ever as scary as I make it out in my head to be. In doing activities that scare me I also build and strengthen my confidence as well as my skill set which is always a plus. So, I have decided to always try and shoot for the moon, because even if I miss it I will land amongst the stars.
“Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss it, you will and amongst the stars” – Les Brown.