Millennials need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It has been said time and time again that millennials have the luxury of living in a world of connectedness. Admittedly, this luxury has afforded many individuals with the opportunity to establish physical or virtual links to a variety of people. With connectivity comes the riches of collaboration, multiple platforms for expression, as well as the support that comes from having constant access to social groups. Unfortunately, the social convenience that is social media- or other connecting devices- has hindered many millennials, particularly college students, from developing their independence. It has formed a crutch enabling individuals to have little incentive for stepping out of their comfort zones. Is college not a time for personal growth and independent thinking?
These media platforms create a constant pressure to receive physical or virtual affirmations from others. Naturally, this enables individuals to only be connected to things or people that bring them comfort, and disconnected to all things that do not. Millennials need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Here are five places that college student should go to alone, at least once, with the effort of stepping outside of their comfort zone:
1. The Bathroom
You think I’m joking, but if it weren’t true it wouldn’t be on the list. This is not just a “girl thing” as I see many genders that are guilty of this. No one can do it for you, so you might as well go by yourself. As simple as this may sound, it is difficult for many to travel solo in public places. That includes places as uninteresting as the john.
2. The Gym
The gym can be a vulnerable place, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. While a gym buddy is nice for motivation. Take personal gym time as a chance to decompress, and take accountability for being your own motivator.
3. Lecture/Guest Speaker
“That’s so awkward!” is a phrase I hear way too often. Sitting alone is really not that awkward. Making an effort to attend a lecture stimulates growth in the membrane. Additionally, it will force you to interpret the information on your own and make connections to personal lived-experience.
4. Student Club Meeting/Event
Social events can be intimidating if you go stag. The event won’t be so painful if genuine effort is invested in networking with peers you don’t typically socialize with. Actively participating in social gatherings that aren’t apart of your norm can aid you into becoming a well-rounded person.
5. The Dining Hall
What’s so scary about going to this space without anyone else? You’re fulfilling a basic need- everyone has to grub. If anything, entering a populated area by your lonesome solidifies that you are confident in your own skin. Furthermore, if you follow the previous suggestion it is likely that you will have met more people that will become familiar faces on campus.
I was on Instagram (straight flexin’ of course), and I came across one of those cheesy picture quotes one day. It read: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Though cheesy, I find it relevant and somewhat ironic when considering a millennial. It’s ironic in that many of our lives have become consumed with social connectivity. That same connectivity is what contributes to our comfort. Whether we like to admit it or not, we find comfort in the companionship of others. We like to be liked. I would be interested in meeting with someone who didn’t get a little confidence boost from 400 people liking their picture (which was probably only half of their face). There is nothing wrong with this (I am more than guilty); however, comfort should not excuse dependency. Let us millennials create a new title for one another: Self-Sufficient Collaborators. The first part of this title acknowledges that we understand and recognize the importance in being able to perform beyond our comfort zones at our own initiative. In the same regard, “collaborators” refers to our ability to connect and collaborate with others through a variety of media platforms. Let’s claim this title now, start with going to the bathroom by alone.