Step out of your comfort zone

Julia Gallop

There is no greater turn-off than meeting someone who refuses to learn. By refusing to learn, I mean not being open to new ideas, rare opportunities or new people.

Don’t tell me about your religious views and why they are correct and all others are wrong. Don’t tell me about how you’re not voting this November because the candidates are crooked and malicious. Don’t tell me that you won’t accompany me to a lecture because the subject supposedly makes you uncomfortable.

So, what would I rather hear?

Tell me about why you think your religious views are correct instead of dismissing all other views. Tell me why you prefer one candidate over the other. Come with me to a lecture with controversial subject matter and be uncomfortable so that we can talk about our thoughts and opinions afterward.

There is nothing that makes me happier than being around open-minded people. The tricky thing is that everyone has the capacity for an open mind, but some choose to keep it closed for the sake of staying in a comfort zone. Comfort zones, however, are our own individual safe spaces that get us nowhere.

The never-ending journey of learning is what is going to keep humanity afloat. A friend of mine once told me that he wanted to get a certain job somewhere because he “wouldn’t have to learn anything.” What good will that do, though? If you have a certain job where you don’t have to learn anything, then how will you progress?

In the same sense, how will you become a well-rounded, college-educated young adult if you don’t take classes outside your major? Take classes that make you think, “What have I just gotten myself into,” once you have registered. I am taking a music course in the spring, and I don’t know an allegro from a minuet (I’m pretty sure they have nothing to do with each other), but I am excited to learn about music nonetheless.

The possibilities don’t stop, either. You can learn about so many things from asking people you know extremely well about their work, their life and their past experiences. I have learned so much from my mother about working at a prestigious institution, from one of my best friends who grew up on a farm in New York and from another one of my best friends who believes in a higher power. The people you meet will be the ones who make your desire to learn grow.

Don’t dismiss those who don’t share your same views. There is no reason to lose respect for someone simply because he or she does not agree with your beliefs completely. Instead, make a conversation out of it and walk away from that conversation with a mind that has been opened just a little bit more. All you can do is learn.

Learning helps us create relationships, ideas and opinions that will be with us forever. Leave your comfort zone and embrace what the world and its people has to offer you.