By Ing Sopheap
There was a girl who could barely gather any courage to go beyond the boundary of her comfort zone. Paralyzed by self-doubt and fears, she often backed away from taking on challenges and facing failures. Little did she realize she was allowing negative thoughts to steal her hopes and dreams.
Gradually, she found it agonizing to watch other people chase their dreams relentlessly and succeed, while she remained reluctant to go after hers. A question popped up in her mind: “What made her so different from them?”
She regretted that she let past opportunities slip through her grasp just because she failed to replace “fear” with “courage”. So, she decided to begin trying to silence those negative voices in her head and taking small steps out of her comfort zone. Still, it was a tough journey. There were times that she succeeded or paused or even gave up.
Yes, that girl is me, Ing Sopheap. This pretty much sums up my experiences as a high school student, and now I have entered another phase of my life—university life.
Before getting into university I had no idea what I was passionate about yet, so I asked a lot of my friends for some suggestions and found out about the Department of International Studies (DIS) at the Institute of Foreign Language (IFL). In order to learn more about it, I took a preparation course and found those subjects interesting somehow. So, I took the DIS entrance exam and passed.
After spending a year there, I would say it was quite challenging for me because I have been facing some uphill struggles. International Studies is all about global politics, history and so on, which I lacked the foundation since I paid little attention to history and rarely read any news or books related to global affairs. It required me to invest a lot of effort and time to catch up with the lessons.
Another major struggle was the writing assignment. Research writing is completely new to me since this subject was not taught in high school. There were times that I spent hours staring at my laptop until midnight, trying to come up with something for my assignment because the deadline was approaching (yes, I did regret that I procrastinated too much).
Despite those challenges, I have also learnt many things throughout the year. I would say I have improved my teamwork, research and public speaking skills because we usually completed assignments (both written and presentation) as a team and received plenty of constructive feedback from different lecturers.
Besides school, a friend of mine recommended me to try getting out of my comfort zone by participating in extracurricular activities, such as doing volunteering work. It actually works! I used to be afraid of meeting new people and doing something new, but now I feel more comfortable working with new people after being a translator at ‘Let’s Read!’ event and joining Project Inspire. I am also struggling to write creatively and expressively, so I applied for Voices of Youth in the hope of strengthening my weakness and experiencing something new.
By noticing the little progress (a little progress is better than going nowhere, right?) that I have made, it encourages me to continue pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and deal with obstacles in a more positive manner. My courage starts to grow little by little and it makes me dare to explore more in order to figure out my real passion.
Actually, joining Voices of Youth is also a part of my journey to finding my passion. Writing blog posts is totally new to me and it excites me just by thinking of starting this intriguing blogging adventure. So, is everyone ready to join me?
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.