I am a firm believer in pushing myself to leave my comfort zone.

Whether it’s jumping out of a plane with nothing but a parachute to break my fall or moving across the country to a school where I didn’t know a single soul, I love to try new things. Even when it absolutely terrifies me.

Anyone who knows me, who truly knows me, knows that I am a complete and total homebody. There’s nothing I love more than a night spent at home under the covers with a good book or an upcoming Netflix binge. It’s easy to settle into a routine of what’s comfortable, of what’s easy, and what’s familiar, but it’s when we push ourselves to try new things and leave our comfort zone that we grow the most.

When I left Michigan to move to Florida, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was moving to a new city where I knew no one and I had to use a GPS just to find the nearest grocery store. I was moving into an apartment with 3 total strangers that knew nothing about me and I knew nothing about them. I walked into a school with over 60,000 classmates and not a one was familiar to me.

But besides all of that, moving to UCF has been one of my proudest achievements. I have met some incredible people and made some great friends. I have had the opportunity to work for organizations like the Orlando City Soccer Club and the Orlando Magic and work events like COPA America. I’m getting a first-class education at the Rosen College and I truly enjoy going to school during the week and planning for my future.

When I jumped out of a plane last fall, I really thought I might have lost it. I couldn’t feel my legs, my heart felt as though it was going to beat out of my chest, and I got dizzy looking out the plane door. But those 5 minutes spent in the air, those 5 minutes of free fall taught me to have faith in the things unseen. It taught me to take a chance in things that may be unfamiliar to me because the payoff could be worth it all and so much more. I would go skydiving again just for the feeling of freedom and the breathtaking views of the coastline of Florida.

In the past month, I forced myself to leave my comfort zone twice and both of those experiences have helped me grow in new ways.

When I went to the Florida/Georgia college football game I realized that I really do live in the south. For an entire day I was surrounded by nothing by cowboy boots, country music, jean overalls, boys with wads of chewing tobacco stuck in their lower lips, and more Trump paraphernalia than I have ever seen in my life.

At the Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC, last week, I was transported to a whole new world without ever even leaving my city. I took a trip to the world of music festivals full of flashing lights, crazy costumes, and lots and lots of EDM.

While neither of these experiences were on my list of top ten days, I’m glad I pushed myself to experience both. I had fun at both and created memories that I will never forget, because while I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back, I can always say I did it once.

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking. The ride might not be as predictable if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.


Written by Jazmyn Patterson

Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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