Do you realize how close minded you are? Here’s how I figured out how close minded I was. I started saying YES to everything.
About 2 years ago, I made the choice to study abroad. Being born and raised in Montana, I loved it. I loved the outdoors, and the opportunity of adventure at any point. What I didn’t realize was this was the ONLY thing I knew. I always deemed Montana, Missoula specifically, as a place where most people are well rounded people, and I think relatively, they may be. However, staying in one place your whole life can be very toxic.
I moved to Australia around two years ago, but not just to Australia, but to one of the biggest foreign exchange schools in the world. When I met people of new and different cultures, I noticed immediately the assumptions I made, and how quickly I again banded myself with people similar to myself. I hated myself for it. I understand this is a natural human function, but as I noticed it happening to me, I brainstormed how to break myself away from it. What I did was, I started saying yes to everything. When someone asked me to do something, or an opportunity presented itself, or some random person on the street asked me to talk, I would always say yes, and I held myself to it. I started saying yes to opportunities I, in the past, would have turned down immediately for reasons to do with pride, fear, etc.
I very quickly saw the change it made, and yes, I did have the occasional situations I definitely should have said no to. But in the long run, I saw myself becoming a much more experienced, well rounded, and cultured person. I started going places, eating things, and hanging out with people I would have never before. It was absolutely liberating and I’m so glad I did it. I saw it as “going with the flow”, and instead of doing that with my own interest in mind, I truly did whatever opportunity came to me. I put myself in danger, in so many awkward situations, but overall, experienced life as it came to me. I made way more friends than I ever would have, and experienced life lessons at a much faster rate than I previously would have. Free yourself, open your mind, SAY YES!!
We are all scared of change, whether it is a change in our daily schedule or change in the weather. This creates a bit of uneasiness in with us. I personally believe when you change an aspect of your life and it makes you uneasy that is when the best thoughts, ideas, and personality comes from. I have found that schedules can have their advantages and disadvantages. They are very good in the sense of keeping you in line and focused but there is an aspect that is missing and that is “what are we missing?” Within this post, I am going to share a couple of ways that I have achieved seeking discomfort in my daily life. These are very simple ways that you can get out of a rut and experience something new.
Go a different route to class/work
We get stuck in the same process every day. We take the same way to get to our destination and you may never know what you are missing if you take a different way. We see the same parking spot, the same sidewalk, and sometimes the same people. I have found that when I walk a different way to class I realize a lot of different things that I have never before. I run into old friends that I have not seen in a while.
Sit in a new spot in the classroom (non-COVID times)
When we were not in all COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing. I always challenged myself to sit in a different spot every week or so if the professor allowed moving spots. If they did not allow spot moving, then I would enter into the classroom and choose a spot next to people that I did not know. This was a challenge to me because we are all okay with what is normal to us. We find security in our own normal.
Try a new place to eat
I have to be honest with you, every time I am hungry and too lazy to make food I immediately go to McDonald’s without even thinking about it. This is a massive thing I have struggled with. It is just comforting food that I know will fulfill my need for food. We always lean to what is comfortable to us, instead we should be seeing what else is out there and trying new food or places.
Ask a friend that you have lost touch with to catch up
This is honestly one of the hardest to do. We all live in a life now of people’s opinions of ourselves are taking a lot more personally then they have ever. We strive to get the most likes on our pictures or the most views. This can take a toll on someone’s mental health and self-image. That is why I try to connect with people that I have not talked to in a while. This might be a high school friend that you got distanced because of college or a college friend that just split ways with you. This can be very overwhelming at first thought about reaching out to this specific person, but you could make this person’s day if you simply sent them a text.
Do anything that makes you scared.
In daily life, I say ‘I don’t want to do that’ or ‘I don’t like that’ this is something I have been catching myself say, and it all roots down to fear. Fearing something that you do not know anything about is one aspect of life that can stop you from doing anything. Living in fear is not a way of life it is a blanket.
These are some aspects that I have learned by following and living the sole purpose of seeking discomfort. This originated from a YouTube group called Yes Theory. If you have any time to spare go give them a watch and a listen.
To start, remember that you have got this! You are starting an adventure that will have lasting impacts on you and your family, regardless of your starting support network size. You can do this.
Here are a few tips to make the transition a little less stressful as you go back to school:
Start Building a Support Network
The more support you have through your college experience, even if it is just for yourself, the better it will be in the long run for you and your kids. We’ll talk about some support network ideas for the kids in just a moment.
Begin in your school’s student success center. In the business school, they have been a great resource for me. They have assisted me with my resume and they have been an encouragement for so much of the hard steps.
They even made a way for me to have access to career fairs that would have been difficult to attend with my daughter. The first semester of the evening career fair, they even offered to watch her! The second semester, they asked a MISA (Management Information Student Association) member to watch children for the event. That is an amazing resource! They have been incredibly good to me. They would not have known my need, however if I had not taken the first step to meet with them.
Meet with your Professors
I cannot stress enough how vital this is. Your professors want you to succeed and want to help you!
Every professor in and out of my major has been wonderful. I do feel like I was incredibly blessed haven chosen the MIS degree path. My professors have supported, encouraged, given hard advice, and pushed me to be the best I could be and not limit myself because of the fact that I am a single mom and a non-traditional student. I have signed a contract for an amazing career, before I graduate, because of my professors.
They did things that made it easier for me to succeed. For example, I brought my daughter to class on the days when she was out of school in the middle of the week.
Here is the truth though, I emailed or talked to my professors to make sure it was okay to bring her with me. I never wanted them to think I took it for granted and I wanted them to have an option to say no. They have never not allowed me to bring her with me. Every time I have needed to bring my daughter, all of my professors have been gracious towards me and her.
Do Not Limit Yourself to Just Your College
Ask about resources that will help you succeed in your learning and then follow up and utilize them. Need help with writing? Go to the writing center. If you have a kid that is young enough to go to ASUM childcare, utilize that resource. If you need help with almost any high fail rate class, there is a study jam or tutoring to be found in the evenings or in the Lomasson building.
The generosity of faculty, staff and other students, was one of the things that most surprised me in this experience as a non-traditional single parent student.
Support For Your Child
How Do You Balance Homework And Parenting?
My daughter was 8-years-old when I began school, so we were able to have conversations about what it was like to be in college from the start. We do a lot of talking through her feelings when it gets hard and she feels like she is not getting the level of attention that she needs. I try to be as validating as possible about how challenging it can be for her, too.
We make compromises as well. So, for example, I will set a timer for ten minutes and I will stop working on homework once that goes off just to be present with her. I will sometimes set another timer to know when to get back to my assignments.
How Do You Handle Out Of School Days While Still Having Class?
I typically take my daughter with me. She gets screen time during the classes, which is a treat for her. Plus, I let her know that I am excited that she gets to attend class with me. Like I said before, my professors have been very kind to her and I have also found that other students make her feel welcome to be in the class.
Another option, here in Missoula, are drop-in daycare centers. The one that I will use on occasion is very loving and my daughter feels safe there.
How Do You Handle Your Child Being Sick?
The university does not have a great solution for sick kids. However, after growing my friend base and support group, I have found that there are some faculty, staff and other students are willing to help me and not just from my own college. I have also found that my professors have been very understanding through the process of having a sick child. So seriously, talk to your professors!
The building of a support network is very important to your success as a student. I believe that if you are willing to put yourself out there and be friendly, you will be able to have the support group that you need. I have found that the University of Montana’s faculty, staff and students are an incredible group of people that, on the whole, want to be in your corner as you pursue your educational goals!
Mandy Fischer is a single parent to an amazing 10-year-old daughter. She will be graduating the Spring of 2020 from the University of Montana with a Business Management Information Systems degree. She recently accepted a position with Deloitte that begins after graduation and is excited for the future!
Going to college, or just leaving your parents house you
will probably live with roommates at some point. One of the biggest things that
ruins a friendship with your roommate is washing the dishes. People just don’t see
eye to eye about when and or how to wash the dishes. The video below shows the absolutely
most effective way to wash dishes, and will stop a lot of passive aggressive arguments.
This video is just a joke, please don’t be the roommate that never washes their dishes!