Whether it is a quick trip to Quebec City, or a long flight to London, England for a week during the summer, traveling alone is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, especially in your 20s. Recently, I told my friends and family that I will be spending Reading Week in Paris. The first question everyone asked was the same: Who are you going with? When I told them I was going alone, their reactions varied from “Wow, you’re so brave” to “That’s so scary! I could never do that!” I have been privileged to do quite a lot of travelling at a young age, both alone and with others, and I have learned that sometimes, the best travel companion you can have is yourself. Here are a few reasons why:
Over the past week, I have been fighting to hold onto the last bit of heat and sunshine! Clad in my summer dresses, sandals and sunglasses, I would happily strut to class, all the while convincing myself that the huge gush of cold wind that enveloped my exposed skin was simply a ‘cool’ summer breeze! Today, I checked the weather forecast, and as I read 8°C, I told myself my phone must be going through another one of its tantrums and forgot to place the number ‘1’ before the ‘8’. Even though September 23rd signaled the official end of summer, I still find it hard to begin my transition into the fall season. As you can tell, I am in strong denial!
I am and probably will always be an introvert. While I’m fully capable of initiating and engaging in conversation with strangers, it’s not something I seek out voluntarily, nor is it something I enjoy. But here I am, 3 months into my new job as Campus Representative for Kaplan Inc; a job in which approaching strangers, engaging in small talk and promoting Kaplan’s services describes my role in its entirety. Needless to say, it has not been the most comfortable experience for me, but it’s been an amazing learning experience and I feel it has benefited my personal development more than any job I have ever taken upon.
Forget anything you’ve ever read about making an impression. Seriously. Clear your mind of it all. First date? Seeing a prof to argue a grade? Interview? Class presentation? Everybody has something that makes them “shaky-hand-tummy-ache” nervous. And often we run madly in the opposite direction when that nerve-racking event is seemingly creeping close. And more often then not it is in those highly unpleasant and uncomfortable moments that the most incredible and important things happen (I wrote about this in the summer, see Pursuit: WhatI wish I knew when I was “__”). You change, you have story, you meets someone etc.
How do you turn something that gives you the nervous jitters in to something you face with with a stoic calm?
Let me ask you this: what would you do differently if failure was not only improbable, but impossible? Would you be more open and candid with someone new in your life? Would you apply to that job or academic program you always thought was out of your league? Would you re-write that intimidating admissions exam? Or would you perhaps do things as you’ve always done them? If you chose the latter, I applaud you. I wasn’t sure how to answer this question when my life coach threw it out to me at the end of our last session. “Food for thought,” she said. “Fear of failure is our biggest obstacle to achieving the things we want.”…my brain has been churning this statement ever since.