Vulnerability: A Tool for Change

Living Far From the Edge From the moment I entered high school I was already trying to decide where I wanted to go college, what I wanted to major in, what internships I wanted for that major, and what companies I wanted to work for after my college graduation. I was in my first year of high school and I was already trying to create a plan for the next eight years of my life. I was primarily focused on my academics and athletics; I surrounded myself with friends that had similar mind sets. I didn’t care about my social life; not parties, not football games, not dating.  If I lived my life on a narrow path then I was able to minimize any chance of rejection rather it be from admission offices or crushes.

However, not only was the desire for structure embedded in me, but my environment also enhanced it. I went to1072265_696445440371510_1946920171_o a small private “college-prep” high school that directed all of us towards applying to and attending private universities out of state that mimicked my high school. Therefore, I only applied to private out-of-state schools, making sure first that I would get into every one that would receive my application. My friends all applied to and eventually ended up attended all out-of-state schools. I went away to Texas Christian University and the rest of my friends were scattered across the country. By spending four years focusing on college and ignoring other parts of my life and myself, I failed to see what would actually be good for me. My mom’s main concern for me when picking a school to attend was staying there for the whole for years and not transferring. However, as a result of how I spent the four years of my high school life I became an introverted girl and going to a preppy school far from home where I didn’t know anyone gave me severe social anxiety which started to have a large impact on me. Even though I knew I wasn’t happy there it gave me even more anxiety having to tell my mom that I wanted to transfer or being the only one of my high schools friends who didn’t like their school and transferred back home.

Taking a Chance I avoided my fear of facing my family and friends for a long time before confronting them about my wish to come home.  Once I finally did, they all did react as I expected. My parents were disappointed that I was transferring and my friends held negative connotations about me transferring to CU.img_0959 However, facing my fear head on and taking one risk led me take another. When I transferred, I immediately started looking for places to live in Boulder in attempt to start new and redesign myself. I transferred in the Spring and most people thought I was just going to live at home. Instead, I found a lease and moved in with five girls that I have never met before and soon after signed a lease for the following year to live with three other girls that I didn’t know either.  Taking risk after risk, I faced my fears head on. All eight of those girls have become some of my closest friends, people that I still hang out with, keep in contact with, and even continue you to live with today.  It even led me to my first relationship! My life at CU Boulder is not only extremely different than my life at TCU, but also it has improved so much.

3070cc_7798013b8cd34458815d11f55c98866aWorth the Risk Stepping out from the shadow of my vulnerability helped me reveal so much more about myself. It rewarded me with life long friendship, courage for the future, stronger self-confidence.  I am no longer the shy and soft-spoken freshman worried about getting rejected or failing.  I am no longer afraid to try to make new friends. I am no longer afraid to talk in class. I am no longer afraid of what people with think.  My initial risk of facing my fear of transferring schools was the enactment that keeps leading me to taking more chance, furthermore helping my grow as a person.


9 thoughts on “Vulnerability: A Tool for Change

  1. Carissa, I can totally connect to you on the TCU vs CU thing. I’m from Madison, WI and EVERYONE insists on you going to UW and everyone from my high school pretty much went there. I was looked down on for going to a school that “isn’t as good at UW” and to me it didn’t really matter because I knew I was so much happier getting away and going to a college for myself and academics, and not just academics.

  2. Carissa,

    I can completely relate to about transferring, it is underrated how intimidating it is to totally uproot yourself and start over at a brand new university. I too signed a lease with two girls who I had never met when I first transferred here, and they both turned out to be close friends. I liked your comment about how your life is not all that different, but it has improved. I think a lot of people assume when you transfer you’re life is going to dramatically change, but in reality it is making the most of wherever you end up that will improve your experience wherever you are.

  3. Hey Carissa,

    I also struggled a great deal on where to attend college, but my experience on the way there was a lot different. Ever since I was a young kid I knew exactly where I wanted to go to school. I attended a public high school in Chicago, so most people were impressed if you went to any college. I cannot imagine the kind of pressure you were under to choose a good school when everyone around you expected so much out of you. I’m glad you decided to transfer to CU. I know it couldn’t have been easy to face your friends and family, but my guess is that life has been a lot better since moving here. I hope you continue to enjoy CU!

  4. Hey Carissa,

    I am glad you have found your place here at CU! Transferring can be terrifying and difficult for a lot of people but it sounds like you have really made the most out of your transition into a new school. I think that a lot of times we forget that we also need to think of ourselves when we make these decisions and not just those around us who we are trying to please. Props to you for making the move! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story! I hope you continue to love CU.

    – Sara

  5. Hey Carissa,

    I applaud you for going against what all of your high school friends did and attend an university that you wanted. In a way, my experience is similar to you in the sense that all of my friends stayed in Texas.

    I love the picture you posted with one person saying “you’ve changed” and the other person saying “I’d hope so.” My high school friends have actually joked about “we don’t like CU because it took away the Adan that we knew.” Personally, I’m very proud of the progress I’ve made at CU and so should you! It’s like when people talk about “upgrading” or “downgrading” from an ex, sometimes, you just need to “upgrade” your friends.


  6. Carissa,

    I’m glad you found your place at CU. Being from Dallas there’s no way I could go to TCU, so it’s good to hear that you embraced vulnerability and it worked out.

  7. Hi Carissa!
    I initially went to college out of state also and realized it just wasn’t the right fit too. Making the decision to do what was right for you is admirable. So many times people are concerned with what others will think about the decisions they make that it prevents them from ultimately doing what is right for them. I’m so glad I was able to find where I belong at CU and its so good to hear that other people have been able to do the same.

  8. Hi Carissa,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Change is no doubt a powerful force. I have never been in a situation like the one that you had gone through, but I believe that it was far from easy. I’m sure when you were going through this that you felt like things didn’t exactly go too smoothly, but I guess that should be expected. It’s good to hear that you’ve settled into life here in Boulder nicely, and you like where you are. I believe that in order to be successful in life, you must first be comfortable with where your life takes place.


  9. Carissa,

    It seems the fear of how others perceive your decisions was a tough thing to overcome. I have felt the same pain of knowing that those who are close to you may have a changed view of you. Staying true to what is best for you is the way to go about it, as you have. Opening up to allow a balance of social life and professional aspirations takes some serious juggling. Keeping that balance is a tough task, but once you find the right amount of each things really change for the better.


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