The Rewards of Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It’s the middle of May, which means only one thing: graduation season. Well…at least for all of my friends that attended universities on the semester schedule. As my Facebook news feed begins to fill up with pictures of my friends in their caps and gowns, the reality is starting to kick in that I will soon be a college graduate.

With this momentous occasion just weeks away, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on the past four years of college. Although I have only been interning in Portland for eight weeks, I’ve begun to think about how I will look back at this chapter in my college experience. Having finished all of my course requirements a quarter early, the logical move would have been to move back home to sunny Southern California or play around in Eugene for 11 more weeks. Nonetheless, I opted to stay in the Pacific Northwest just a little bit longer and pursue an internship in Portland as part of the Senior Experience.


Moving to a new city  where you only know a handful of people is no easy task, especially when you have to start a new internship two days after that move. Yet despite this tough adjustment, I’ve found moving to Portland to be an incredibly rewarding opportunity.

I could have spent this spring frantically hunting for a job back home. Instead, I’m receiving real-world experience by working with a creative group of professionals who constantly inspire me to absorb all of the knowledge around me and improve upon my work.

If you are going to take anything away from this brief summary of the past eight weeks of my life, it would be to not fear veering off of your expected life course and stepping out of your comfort zone. You’ll never know what you might miss out on. I don’t know where I’ll be in a few weeks, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.

Andrew Schwartz

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8 Responses to The Rewards of Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

  1. kttodd says:

    Great post, Andrew! Yikes, that’s a fast move–moving to a new city a few days before starting an internship sounds exhausting. I’m glad it’s worked out so well though and that it’s been such a good experience! Working with people who inspire you is hard to beat. In just a few weeks, that’ll be us in our caps and gowns, it’s hard to believe!

  2. Things are moving fast… arg! I am getting head ache just thinking about the pain it will be to move everything out of my apartment. Oh well. I’m still excited for graduation!

    You were really smart to do the Portland Experience instead of farting around in Eugene. Job hunting will be easier with some real world experience under your belt. I imagine it took some serious willpower to pursue this program being that you are completely done with classes. You made the right choice. It’s been great to meet you.

    Lets enjoy the rest of our time in Portland and learn all we can.

    – Nick

  3. lockerobster says:

    Wow, that took a lot of ambition to add this program onto your plate when it wasn’t necessary. Good job! By the way, I am very jealous of my friends on the semester system who have already graduated. However, I suppose these next fours weeks will zoom by. I love your ending message–stepping out of our comfort zone is scary but there is so much to see and do that it ends up being a very rewarding experience.

  4. megmarieshea says:

    First, great picture! It shows how beautiful Portland really is, especially at night. Andrew, you did an awesome job describing your experience for all of us. I am glad that it has been so rewarding for you (as it should be). From what I have learned from you about interning where you are, you have definitely been lucky to work in such an innovative and creative environment. I hope that you have taken everything you learned and continue on your professional journey. Best of luck to you!

  5. Wait, what? We’re graduating soon?

    It doesn’t feel real sometimes—the experience we’ve gotten here and how lucky we were to be able to spend our last term in Portland. You had such an awesome opportunity with your internship and it seems to be something that you’ve really been interested in, which is more than most interns get to say. Now, we’ve got the jump on many people coming out of J schools across the country, and we 100% earned it.

    Great post!

  6. pdxsx says:

    Good post, Andrew. Enjoy your few weeks left and kick serious butt with every opportunity!


  7. Nick Smith says:

    Andrew, Portland can be a weird and scary place if you’re not used to it. I love this city and can’t really imagine living anywhere else. It took a lot of courage to move to a new place with new people for a program you really didn’t need; however, I’m sure you’ve already noticed the benefits of it. It’s hard to believe that graduation is only a four short weeks away. I know that my journey to college completion has been riddled with bumps and u-turns, so many in fact that I wasn’t sure this spring would ever come. Congrats to you and everyone else on a great accomplishment.

  8. Summer Luu says:

    Awesome post Andrew. I agree, stepping out of your comfort zone is the key to new experiences and gaining a bigger (and hopefully better) perspective on life. I’m moving to San Diego after this internship and I’ve never been in a more awkward transitional stage in my life where this is truly stepping out of my comfort zone, away from friends and family that I’ve known for years and familiar surroundings and Oregon culture that I’m teetering on the edge of anxiety and excitement to be moving forward with life. But don’t worry, it can only go up from here. Here’s to the next chapter.

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