When I think back to what it was like when I went to school, I can remember some things so well. My comfort zone? It was everything. If I got an A- that was getting too close to a B, I worked harder. I didn’t necessarily learn more, I just played the game better. I memorized facts the night before tests. I rarely had to delve into a textbook to study. Elementary, Middle School, High School… it was, for lack of a better word, easy. Comfortable. I pushed myself to the get the A’s, played the game.
I just couldn’t wait to get to college.
But, then I went to college. It was hard. The studying? It was the real kind. The learning? I had to really learn. I found out then that I had spent so much time living in my comfort zone of pushing my A- grades up to A-plus, that I hadn’t really learned how to learn. The game I had played for 12 years in school? It no longer worked. School had failed to teach me life’s most important lesson… how to survive outside the comfort zone. When things got tough, I just didn’t have the experience to figure it out.
So here I am, years later, and graduate classes are now about learning. About reading articles that push my thinking. About having discussions with people that have different perspectives than I do. About understanding new ideas and connecting them with old ones. Shouldn’t school have been about that all along?
It’s not always easy. But it shouldn’t be. Because the lesson that your comfort zone is overrated is something that needs to be learned a lot earlier than when you go to college. Because it’s in that lesson that the real, true learning begins.