To get the most out of college you’ll have to make yourself uncomfortable

Today, I am going to issue a challenge.

I challenge each student at the College of William and Mary to experience something different. I’m not talking about taking a different route to one of your classes, and I’m not talking about going to the Commons Dining Hall instead of the Sadler Center Dining Hall for lunch today. I mean something truly different, something out of your comfort zone. In fact, pick something you ordinarily would be least likely to try. Then do yourself a favor and go experience it.

Sometimes, Williamsburg can make you feel like you’re living in an isolated bubble. It’s not exactly one of the cultural centers of the world, which in some ways offers a certain comfort — there is a familiarity to all of it. But the College has over 100 different clubs and organizations constantly hosting events to showcase the fascinating activities their members engage in on a regular basis, not to mention the variety of lectures routinely put on by each department. The key to experiencing something different is deciding for yourself exactly what stepping out of your comfort zone means.

This past weekend, I attended a concert at the Williamsburg Regional Library to watch a performance by Simon Shaheen and the William and Mary Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. I was required to attend for a course I am taking, and I honestly was gearing up for a boring night. However, the concert completely surprised me. Everything I had originally thought would be negative about the concert turned out to be positive. I was hesitant because the event was being held at the Williamsburg Regional Library Theatre, a small venue, but I found I really enjoyed the intimacy. Shaheen, who was virtually unknown to me, blew me away with the speed and dexterity with which he played his instruments. He quickly proved he was not at all as unknown as I had thought and demonstrated why he was well known in certain parts of the country and around the globe.

What I attended at first only out of duty turned into a rather pleasant surprise and inspired me to seek out the unfamiliar more often, which is why I now present you all with this challenge. Find what stepping out of your comfort zone means to you. Maybe you are not the most athletic person but have always wanted to try out for a club team or join an intramural sport. Go out and do it. Whatever the idea of experiencing something different means to you, embrace it instead of shying away from that new frontier.

Challenge accepted?

Email Gabriella Hafner at


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