The trouble with being adventurous and taking risks is you will never know what is going to happen until it surrounds you. Some are born adventurous, while others have to learn. Personally, I am independent, and, despite usually finding success, I am rarely optimistic about the outcome of new situations. Recently, I learned that taking risks isn’t as scary as it seems, you just have to trust yourself and be open-minded.
Going on my own adventure across the pond
In the summer of 2018, I had the invaluable opportunity to study abroad at Cambridge University. It still feels like a dream, honestly. I studied medical science and psychology, with two of the most amazing professors. My classmates were all from different countries around the world. Each student brought a different perspective and opinion. We were able to discuss and make compromises, simply because everyone was respectful. Everyone came into the program with the intention of studying abroad to prepare for future careers, but we didn’t expect that we would be so close or grow so much. I spent a lot of my time studying, as the academics were more rigorous than anything I’d ever experienced before. In my free time, I chose to explore my new environment.
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For months, leading up to the trip, I wondered. What will the town be like? Where will my classmates be from? Will I even enjoy studying abroad? The time finally came and I arrived in England. After getting settled in my dorm, I decided to go for a walk, and in no time, this became a habit. I walked through the park between classes, and downtown after class. Every day, I saw something or met someone new. The diversity within the program, and in the town, was simply beautiful. Kids from all around the world, coming to learn about their passions, surrounded by people in the town who were welcoming and supportive. Allowing myself to be inquisitive and vulnerable allowed me to go on my own little adventures. I learned not to be afraid of the unknown, just to be curious.
At Cambridge, I learned about more than just medicine
Obviously, my knowledge of medicine expanded immensely, while at Cambridge, but I also grew tremendously as a person. I’ve found that you learn a lot about yourself while learning about what you love, especially when you are in a new environment. I learned how to trust myself. I studied at Cambridge, as a 15-year-old, and I did extremely well in my classes. I’m usually so quick to doubt that I will succeed, but this experience boosted my confidence. I am proud of what I have accomplished, what I learned, and how much I grew. Most importantly, I realized that accomplishments shouldn’t be labeled by what others find impressive, but rather based on personal growth and experience.
Stepping out of our comfort zones is something we should all do more frequently because it makes us grow. I am extremely grateful and fortunate for the opportunity I had to study and learn at Cambridge. Every day, I use something I learned during my time there. Remember to have an open heart and an open mind, because every person has a different story to tell. Whether you are across the ocean, or down the street, if you open your eyes and mind you can always learn something new.
Aubrey is summer blogging intern that also stepped out of her comfort zone and learned lots about herself along the way. Check out more articles like this, Portrait of a Gap Year.