Getting Out of Your Cocoon

I usually have this habit of watching TEDx videos on YouTube in a random fashion. I came across this video which talked about overcoming challenges. The part that really moved me was the fact that more often than not, we believe that the efforts we put in to accomplish a task have to be rewarded. Turns out, things always don’t work this way. You face hurdles, challenges, and setbacks even though you put your best foot forward. As international students, we all have huge dreams of doing something big when we first arrive in this new land. We have high hopes and ambitions of creating something, doing something that no one has ever done before. Yes, but somehow along the way, we begin to have self-doubts about our true worth. This happens when we feel that our efforts are not being rewarded enough or at all. We reconsider our goals and we tend to push ourselves a bit too much. Just for that extra mile. We want to be better than the best in whatever that we do. So, when we face minor setbacks and failures here and then, we become hopeless. Is that okay? Yes, absolutely. Don’t stop yourself from feeling the way you feel.

So what do we do about it? Do we sit still and wait for things to get better? No, we go out and make things happen. We do things even if they seem uncomfortable to approach in the beginning. We take that first tiny step just to get things going.

Recently enough, I was on the search for graduate assistantships. I had interviewed in quite a number of places and week after week I was getting denied from all the places I had been applying to. Did that make me feel hopeless? A bit, yes! Finally, I did get an assistantship, however, it was at a place where they required me to have a car. For a 22-year old who had never driven in her life, the idea of having a car and driving 20 miles is pretty scary. I was being told how this job is not meant for me and how having a car just for the job does not even make sense. That did not make me stop. I asked people around me to teach me how to drive. I took that first tiny step, gave my driver’s test, got my license and I’m all set to buy a car now. My parents have been supportive of all the decisions I have made in my life. I consider myself blessed to have such a strong support system that not only is there to support you through tough times but also encourages you to take every opportunity that comes your way with optimism and confidence. Above everything else, taking that big bold step to embrace uncertainties with a huge smile on your face is all that it takes to begin with. Rest, just follows.

It is the fear of rejection, the fear of being negatively evaluated or it could be the fear of isolation and loneliness that prevents us from taking that first step. Trust me when I say this, going out there and making things work out is a courageous step. These small tiny steps are what counts when you look back on what you have achieved so far. So, don’t be afraid of being expressive about the way you feel or applying for that internship you have always wanted to have. Get out of your comfort zone and things will work out eventually.

Article submitted by Asmita Saha for International Student Voice

Eastern Illinois University 

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