“I tend to think you're fearless when you recognize why you should be scared of things, but do them anyway.”- Christian Bale
In my life I have been very comfortable. I grew up in a very stereotypical middle class suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, and went to the same school for 10 years (pre-k through 8th grade) until high school in a suburb of Atlanta. Going to the University of Georgia was my first big culture shock, though I only moved an hour away. Being away from home presented the new challenge of finding out who you are away from the security blankets that I held on to
This year, after joining AIESEC in September, the obvious summer plan seemed to be to go abroad through AIESEC. I thought about where I wanted to go, and China was the first place that came to mind. I spent some time thinking about other places but my mind always wandered back to visioning myself in China, and I began to apply to programs.
Since telling people that I am going to Shanghai this summer, I keep being asked the same variation of the question, why did you choose to go to China? I usually provide the answer of, I want to get out of my comfort zone and experience a country that is incredibly different from my own.
Not the logistics of my trip but the fact that where I’ll be in a month’s time is an almost 180 degree difference from where I sit now in my room in my pajamas. Change is a daunting idea. However, I find that this fear I have fuels me even more to learn more about where I’m going, work more to reach out to the people in the community there, and talk to those who have gone before me.
I don't know what it’s going to be like when I’m put out into the world in a country whose language I don't speak and whose customs I haven't experienced. I can’t tell you how I’ll feel, but what I can tell you is that I know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. There are thousands of students just like you and me who are about to venture out into the wide world of uncertainty and that is a scary thought. People keep telling me that I shouldn’t be afraid, but it’s not a bad thing to be a little afraid. We’re fearless. We are journeying thousands of miles away from our comfort zones to find ourselves. Life isn't about not having a sense of fear about taking big steps but what life is about is how you approach that fear.
So go. Go explore. Take the leap. Let me know how the world is. Be fearless, not fearful.
Originally posted April 2016