By Eboni Freeman ’21
When you are invited to do something or to go somewhere, how often do you find yourself saying yes? How often do you find yourself saying no or coming up with excuses for why you are unable to go? I would answer “pretty often” to both, however, I have found that I tend to say no or make-up excuses more often than I say yes. And until recently, I hadn’t completely understood how saying no and/or giving excuses for why I couldn’t do something has caused me to miss out on so many opportunities.
I would like to consider myself an adventurous person, and in some ways I am. But I have come to realize that I am not adventurous when it comes to putting myself out there and pursuing various opportunities that place me outside of my comfort zone. This realization came when I was in the midst of figuring out where I would study abroad, as well as while I was abroad.
In coming to Davidson, I knew I wanted to study abroad. When it finally came time for me to decide where I wanted to go and to apply to various programs, I was unsure of where I wanted to travel. I assumed I would travel to Germany because, at the time, I had been enrolled in German. But one day I was sitting in the Center for Career Development with my dear friend Haleena “Leena” Phillips. She asked me if I wanted to study abroad in Denmark with her to which I responded with a joking, “No”. I responded in a joking way primarily because I knew nothing about the program.
Following that conversation, I researched the Danish study abroad program and as I learned more about the program and the courses, they offer I decided that I actually did want to study abroad in Denmark. I gathered all of the documentation the application required, I submitted the application and waited to hear whether I was accepted into the program. I received an email acceptance along with information on next steps. Leena was one of the first people I told that I had gotten accepted due to the fact that I wouldn’t have thought of studying abroad in Denmark if it wasn’t for our conversation.
When the day arrived for me to leave the United States, I was excited and sad. I was traveling to a new country, but I was also going to be away from my family and friends for about 4 months. When I landed in Denmark, Leena was the second person I contacted – the first was my mother to let her know I had made it safely. I was in communication with Leena up until the point when I spotted her at the program’s meetup location. The shenanigans began and continued from that point on.
During my time abroad there were countless moments when Leena would text and ask me if I wanted to go somewhere or do something with her. More often than not I would say no or provide an excuse for why I didn’t want to or couldn’t go. But the times I decided to say yes made for some of the most memorable moments of my time abroad. I decided, at the end of my time abroad, that when I returned to the United States that I would be saying yes instead of no.
I share my story to express the importance of putting yourself out there and removing yourself from your comfort zone. Davidson offers so many cool and amazing opportunities to try new things and to explore new places. Seize those opportunities. While you are seizing those opportunities, don’t be afraid to go on different adventures. Remember, you still have the right to say no if it’s something you truly do not want to do. But, start saying yes to your friends asking you to try new cuisines. Say yes to your friend asking you to go to the club or a new place they heard about. Say YES!