I had coffee with O. this week, checking in after 6 weeks of freshmen living. Like many of his accomplished peers, O. came to GW with a fantastic resume under his belt. O. has seen the world, been recognized for his incredible talents, been pushed & pulled to make change in his community. Given a sense of comfort throughout high school, O. made conscious choices to use this comfort to his advantage. He worked his networks, pushed the envelope, rocked his social capital to the n-th degree.
I find many students with a story similar to O.’s. They live a high school life of being a BIG, BOLD fish in a comfortable pond. And then they get to GW and suddenly, the ocean is very large, and they have to do a lot of work to re-establish their place in the ecosystem.
Comfort morphs into discomfort. But in my mind, discomfort is our greatest teacher.
When was the last time you learned when you were comfortable? Does discomfort have the capacity to teach you more than you realized? Were the greatest lessons of your life learned when all was perfect, or when you were being pushed?