The Power of Taking Risks
The most common piece of advice I received as I entered college was to step outside of my comfort zone and not be afraid to try new things. After a while, these suggestions became repetitive and began to lose importance for me. As a busy college student trying to balance academics, a social life and a healthy lifestyle, taking risks beyond my comfort zone often slips through the cracks.
However, as graduation slowly approaches, I have begun to realize the value in these pieces of advice. Because of this, I decided to compile a list of ways to step outside of your bubble. Some may seem more difficult than others, but they are all temporary — so they can’t be that bad, right?
1. Study abroad
I know what you’re probably thinking — this is the most stereotypical suggestion a college student can get. There is a reason why everyone recommends it, though. Studying abroad proves two things. First, you prove to yourself that you are capable of living on your own, which will make graduating that much easier. Second, you prove to potential future employers that you are not afraid to take challenging steps toward becoming self-sufficient in the most foreign of environments.
2. Take an internship position that does not necessarily match your ideal career path
Speaking from personal experience, accepting a job offer that does not initially seem to connect you to your career goals has the potential to change your life. You may have an idea in your mind of where your career will go, but if you are offered a position that does not match that plan, take a hard look at your decision before turning it down. Internships are temporary, and gaining experience in any field will ultimately benefit you in some way. If it is not a positive experience, at least you can add it to the list of things you don’t want to do after college.
3. Take a class you know nothing about
College students often groan at the idea of having to take general education requirements before proceeding to their major specific classes, but I view this as an opportunity rather than just a prerequisite. At no point in high school was I given the chance to take Solar System Astronomy or Introduction to Human Communication, so having this option in college was something special that only expanded my knowledge. An easy way to do this is to find a teacher you love and explore some of the other classes they offer. Additionally, (for any Clemson students) I recommend investing time in a leisure skill course — whether it be swing dancing or skeet shooting, these are classes you will remember taking for the rest of your life!
4. Apply for something you might not get
Many students probably tried this while applying to college, and if you’re like me, you likely received denials from several schools. That is okay. In fact, I see that as a good thing. You can use those setbacks as a learning lesson for future opportunities. Whether you are applying for a summer internship, a leadership position on campus, graduate school or a job after college, you should never shy away from an opportunity simply out of fear of rejection. If you always settle for something that you have in the bag, you will never progress toward anything new or enriching. No successful person ever got to where they are now by taking the easy way out.
5. Be open to moving away after college
This is probably one of the scarier ideas on this list, but let me put it this way: at 22 years old, you have more freedom in your life than ever. Before you get tied down by a spouse, kids or anything else, allow yourself some time to live in a new location. This is a true testament to your personal capabilities and is even a step beyond studying abroad. You don’t have to move across the country, but establishing a life for yourself and becoming self-sufficient in a new city will greatly benefit your long term success no matter where you end up. Besides, you can always move back home!
My inspiration for this list mainly came from things I have either already experienced, regret not experiencing or hope to experience in the future. Everyone’s list may be different, but as college students we must find a way to take full advantage of each opportunity and realize the power behind risk-taking in order to push ourselves forward.
Written By: Roxie Ware