This past weekend, I traveled to the sunshine state of California for a student journalism conference in Los Angeles, along with fellow journalism students from my college. Along the way, I encountered many hiccups that could of brought our trip to a screaming halt. Luckily, we all regrouped as a team and kept that train on the tracks.
But it wasn’t easy and many of the students who attended the trip–including myself–would testify to this statement.
Over the course of the four-day trip, I quickly became comfortable with the uncomfortable. Let me explain this twisty statement: I am a type of person who feels at ease when plans are made and followed through. I feel unease when I say I will do something and don’t put actions into my words. Now, this applied to just about everything I have committed to, expect maybe this one trip.
I took this trip as a great learning experience and one I won’t ever undermine the exposure of knowledge I gained from it. Heck, I even asked my college for supportive funding to go on this trip because it meant that much to me!
But this trip was executed much differently than ones I have planned out months in advance before. And due to the fact a bunch of us had less than three weeks to prepare for this trip, I’d say we did one hell-of-a job living up to our expectations of getting the supportive funding and actually making it there and back! But even the most rewarding adventures can have plenty of downfalls.
Some viewed my brief hiatus from school as a small vacation; I however didn’t see it that way at all.
It was a trip full of anxiety, frustration, angst, exhaustion and a lot of hunger pains. Our group was constantly solving personal and scheduling problems that wasn’t their to be figured out. The first night we stayed in L.A., I got maybe four hours of sleep. And as a vegetarian and lactose-intolerant consumer, well, let’s just say menus must be carefully read before ever meal.
It was an extremely exhausting trip. But the more I welcomed the problems with solution-ready fists, the more I became accustomed to swimming pools of awkwardness and discomfort. As a broadcast journalism student attending a print journalism conference, I felt very much out of place. I felt I had so much more to gain that I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
I might have felt slightly out-of-place at this conference, but I excepted that notion and gained as much knowledge from it as I could. I learned the comforting atmosphere of swimming in different waters was good for my gills, metaphorically speaking.
The less I tried to take control of how I felt in the present moment at the conference and excepted every speaker I listened to and journalism student I met, the more I grew. The less I tried to fit in, the more authentic I became in my surroundings.
Nothing is more deteriorating on the soul than pretending everything is going perfect and that you are made out to what everyone else around you is. Uncomfortable situations suck, but they are only temporary. What you learned in that present moment will subside any uncomfortable situation in the future. The more you expose yourself to foreign situations and experience, the more you realize how well you can function next time those moments arise.