This I Believe

Lauren - Mohnton, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my four years of college is that it is necessary to take risks in order to make the most out of life. I came here as a freshman thinking I was secure in my relationships, in who I was, and in what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea how much I would change.

Many of us are afraid of change. It makes us nervous and uncomfortable. We feel safe and secure with the people and surroundings that are familiar. We fear that which is unknown. But, throughout my college career, I have learned how taking risks and stepping outside our comfort zones are essential to learning, growing, and gaining the life experiences that truly shape who we become.

Last year I took a huge risk by leaving everyone and everything I knew to spend five months living and working in Florida. I was terrified to leave the familiarity of Pennsylvania and of all those I loved and depended on. I was afraid of what might happen to my relationship with my boyfriend of over two years whom I would be leaving behind. I worried that I would be lonely and not fit in this new place. But it turned out to be the greatest experience of my life. I met amazing new friends, made incredible memories, and learned so much about myself and about the person I really want to be. I did end up losing what I thought was the love of my life, which was also terrifying at the time but turned into another blessing in disguise. When I allowed myself to be single and not to depend on someone else for my own happiness, I again became stronger and smarter. I learned that what seems comfortable and safe for a while may turn out wrong in the end. But we can never discover these things without taking risks and not being afraid of change.

What it all boils down to is that life is full of change, and it is scary and uncomfortable at times. But it is all necessary. Life has a funny way of making things work out for the best. Even when it seems from time to time that nothing goes right, and we miss people and things from our past, we have to remember that these difficult experiences make us stronger and ultimately better people. We need to be willing to fall and have faith that someone or something will be there to catch us.