Taking Chances

What is it like walking away from everything you’ve ever known? What happens when we leave behind the people, the places, and everything else that once composed the entirety of your life? What does it take to break out of your comfort zone? How do you take the next step?

I kept asking myself these questions. I was so puzzled by the idea that an 18-year-old girl, like myself, was expected to just up and leave everything I have ever known to move to a new state, with new people, new classes—new everything.

How does one prepare for this journey? I suppose you could say, “You just box up your things, say your goodbyes, and bring along the memories.”

So that’s exactly what I did. I boxed my things, said my goodbyes, boxed more things, made the drive, and held tight to my memories. I moved out into a whole new world and away from everything I have ever known. I crossed the Iowa border, leaving behind my home and shattering my comfort zone in the process.

Weeks later, I sit writing to you alone in my new dorm room, at a new school, with new friends, and essentially, a new life. I don’t think I can say I was prepared for all of this. I mean, I knew it was coming, and I was okay with it. At least, as okay as a person can be under the circumstances and with the knowledge of the obvious challenges to come.

Here is what I have learned thus far.

Life isn’t like the ACT. There is no preparation for the hard parts, there are no direct answers to the problems, and there is no structured format to what it will be like. You simply just have to face it as it comes and learn as you go.

So, what is it like walking away? What does it take to break out of your comfort zone? How do you take the next step?

For me, it was all in the first step. It took everything in me to make that first step.

Change is hard, but it is only as hard as you make it. It is all in making that first step. Once you have, you get to decide whether you go from there or stay in the same place. You can be angered, confused, and saddened by all of the things that are changing, or you can embrace the beauty of the newness of everything in your life.

So that is what I did. The first step was taken which led me here. It isn’t easy, the phone calls have become more than many, the memories sometimes linger, but the adventures, the newness, the laughter, challenges, the constant ice cream, independence, new memories, the abounding love, the messiness of life—all of this makes it worth it.

All of the struggles that were put into this now ever-so-changing period of my life has opened my eyes and allows me to love the new life I have been blessed with. Over the past few weeks I have faced many changes that come along with my new life as a college student. With the difficulties change brings, I have caught a quick glimpse of how great this new life is going to be. I have learned all over again how to embrace new experiences with open arms, how great it is to welcome new people into my life, and most importantly how to love life even when it is different from the “normal” you are used to.

I know that we all face adversities in our life and we all have to deal with change as time goes on.

Nothing can prepare you for change, but how you candle the change is everything. So embrace it, look past the difficult parts and find the beauty in it. Just take the step, move forward, reach out of your comfort zone, and go for it. It won’t always be easy but change is a beautiful thing. It helps you learn and grow into the person you are called to become. Walk towards the unknown with a heart filled with optimism and a soul filled with trust. Take the leap, accepting that you do not know what will be on the other side, but trust it will all be okay.

By: Mariah Pellino

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