STEPPING OUTSIDE OF MY COMFORT ZONE
By Katelyn Chau, Francis Lewis High School, Bayside, NY
The transition from middle school to high school can be difficult. For me, moving from a small middle school where I knew nearly everyone in my grade to a high school with 4,500 students was extremely overwhelming and stressful. The crowded hallways and unfamiliar faces caused me to make little attempt to be a part of the school community or converse with anyone outside of the people I knew from elementary or middle school. Needless to say, I soon became unhappy with this type of social life and found myself wanting more.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I started taking Journalism class and joined the Photography Club that I was finally able to step outside of my comfort zone. One of the first lessons I was taught in Journalism was how to effectively go up to strangers and ask to interview and photograph them. The first time I was given the task, I nearly bawled at the prospect of having to do so. I recall spending nearly twenty minutes pacing around the hallway, my legs trembling slightly. Despite this, I knew that I had to do it - and so I did.
As my familiarity in interviewing and photographing strangers grew, I began to find it a lot easier to form friendships with those in my school - something that I once found hard to do. Sometimes, it only takes one good push outside of your bubble for you to realize that things usually aren’t going to play out the way that you’re afraid that they will.
For example, when I first walked into the Photography Club by myself, I knew that the worst case scenario was that I would walk in and meet narrowed eyes and hushed whispers. This scenario that I had built up in my head for so long is what always stopped me from joining. However, when I walked in, I was immediately greeted with open arms.
Ever since sophomore year, rather than imagining the negative things that could happen if I were to try something new, I now focus on all of the potentially positive outcomes. Having this mindset has definitely allowed me to expand my interests, form new friendships, become more outgoing, and view the world through a broader lens.