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Safe spaces on campus are a required resource

Safe spaces on campus are a required resource
(EN Photo / Brad Young)

We live in a world where in order to be considered a well-developed or fully educated person, you have to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. While venturing out does have benefits, it’s not as essential as society makes it out to be.

A comfort zone is a place where a person can feel safe and secure to be themselves and learn.

If someone feels comfortable in an environment and with certain people, then it seems counterproductive to tell them to do something completely different, just so they have the possibility of developing new attitudes or meeting more people.

I guarantee that almost every day you will hear the advice, to try something new, to step out of personal bubbles.

This so-called simple act is presented to us as leading to some form of success, which is rather persuading and serves to convince the stubborn and doubtful.

Sure, stepping out of a comfort zone may result in the development or improvement of life skills, the meeting of new people and the revelation of a new concept or idea.

By stepping out, you may very well realize that you have a talent that will help you pave out a career path.

These are all good and well but these beneficial results aren’t always that easy to achieve.

What society doesn’t seem to understand is that not everyone works best outside of their comfort zone.

In a comfort zone, you’ll still meet new people from different backgrounds who will teach you something new every day. You’ll still develop life skills that will help you to think soundly and succeed in the future.

You’ll still be exposed to tough choices and unfair situations that you have to learn to deal with.

If anything, it’s more beneficial to stay in your comfort zone because the people there are more likely to have interests, hobbies and beliefs in common with you, and they’re more likely to understand your mindset and personality.

I’m not recommending that you hole yourself up in your room all day with your only friends binging on Netflix and Pop-Tarts. You do have to put yourself out there a little; friends just aren’t going to pop up out of nowhere.

But don’t stress yourself out by joining clubs that may not interest you or by trying to be best friends with everyone you meet in class if that’s not what you’re comfortable doing.

The point is that people often find themselves being pressured to step out of their comfort zones and be people they’re not.

We are forcing early action because today’s world — with its advanced technology and updated standards for popularity — demands we play by its standards in order to avoid social suicide.

People should be able to choose how far out of their comfort zone to step — if they want to step out at all — without having to face the fear of being dictated and shamed by society for their choices.

You’re always learning about yourself, and you’ll never stop. But you should be able to learn by being who you are, not by forcing yourself to take risks and insert yourself into unfamiliar situations.

Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t always the answer to success.

At FGCU, safe zones are being established across campus to “identify, enlist, and educate allies, who will support and advocate for the LGBT community,” according to the mission statement on the school’s website.

In a way, safe zones act as comfort zones where members of the LGBT community, along with trainers and allies, can gather together, promote understanding of the LGBT culture, make new friends and learn more about themselves in a safe and comfortable environment.

In today’s society, I believe we are slowly progressing to be more understanding of the LGBT community, but some people will always be close-minded and intolerant. If this space is a comfort zone for these people and their Allies, then why should we try to force them to grow and learn where they are not comfortable?

Same question goes for the rest of the people in the world.

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