My Experience Embracing the Unfamiliar


“I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth. Then I ask myself the same question.” —Harun Yahya

For the past three years, I’ve given myself the same resolution: Get out of your comfort zone.

Whenever I felt fearful of anything, I told myself that I needed to face that fear instead of letting it consume me. I wanted to challenge myself in so many different areas, from outfit choices to fitness goals, eating habits, and social situations. Becoming a creature of habit is comforting. It’s satisfying and relaxing. I ordered the same meals at the same restaurants, I wore the same outfits, and chatted with the same people.

The thing is, we have so much potential for growth, especially at UTM, where so many of us are provided with opportunities—academic or social—if only we venture out of our bubble.

And what’s interesting about getting out of our comfort zone is that it isn’t entirely complicated at first. First step? Try. The most difficult, yet self-fulfilling part of the equation. That job you thought you didn’t qualify for? Apply for it. You never know if you’ll score that interview or not. Maybe the pool of candidates you’re with are all in the same boat—uncertain, yet determined.

With experience comes growth. You gain perspective and build character. Take up a new hobby or venture into new activities. I thought meditation was silly and useless until I gave it a try. And now I’m hooked. To my surprise, it helped me in more ways that I can imagine. I read about mindfulness. I learned more about myself. My conversations with friends became more insightful. None of that would’ve happened had I not taken the first step.

Be an active learner of different cultures. When I started talking with classmates of different cultures than my own, I grew to be more open-minded. When I finally got myself to try a dish that I was completely unfamiliar with—and slightly thrown off by its appearance—I ended up loving it. And now I recommend it. I recently even bought its ingredients so I can make it at home. It’s easy to stick to the familiar, but once we experience unfamiliarity, it becomes thrilling. It challenges us to broaden our perspective. It reminds us that the world is so much bigger than we think.

At the end of the day, every one of us faces different fears. No matter how small or big they are, they scare us. And when we see ourselves as bigger than those fears, we start conquering the root of the issue. I promise you, we are so much stronger than what we give ourselves credit for.