Comfort Zones are Meant to be Broken

Photo by Chris Arock on Unsplash

I’ve had to speak to a lot of people today. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know I have a hard time dealing with people in general – my social anxiety is pretty severe. Well, I work at a college, and today is the first day of the fall semester. So whenever I leave the safety of my basement office, there are students everywhere trying to figure out where to go.

I have absolutely no problem helping people. I love to help people. But every time they ask me where something is, I have a moment of panic because I honestly don’t get out of my office a lot, and I don’t know where a lot of stuff is around campus.

So far I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten anyone lost.

Okay, mostly sure.

There was one woman who I helped more than I intended. I was walking outside to take a break. There’s a little area at the far end of the building where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic and there are pretty flowers – a nice spot to hide for a few minutes when you need to get away from your desk. This woman asked me where she can smoke. I told her to follow me, some of the employees smoke in the area I was heading to.

She asked what I’m studying and I told her I actually work there in the IT department. She mentioned that this was her first day back to college in ten years, and pointed out that the last time she tried higher education it didn’t go so well. I assured her that she’s not alone. I told her I’m 37 years old and just finished my associate’s degree last year. It was my third attempt at getting a degree.

I went to a four-year college right out of high school, and I just wasn’t ready. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and for the first time I had people to party with. So I did that a bit too much. My anxiety got in the way of my second attempt, and I dropped out after a year. But third time is a charm, right? Even though my husband left me during my last semester, I made it out alive.

After telling this random woman my story, she said “Thank you so much. I’m 29 and I felt like such a loser, just now coming back to school.” I assured her she’s not alone and she’s definitely not a loser. I wished her luck and went back to my desk, feeling like maybe I really helped someone today.


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