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Leavey School of Business Santa Clara University

Leavey Ambassadors Program Blogs

Shreya Shah: Becoming familiar with the Unfamiliar

This blog post dives deeper into how I was able to navigate change and the anxiety that comes with not knowing what the future holds in college.

Shreya Shah Blog Photo

When I was five years old, I walked into the living room and found this brand-new television staring back at me. It was big, it was black, it was shiny. What was there not to love? I started bawling. I was mortified. Appalled at my reaction, my parents further inquired as to why this brand-new TV caused such distress. I longed for the one we had just replaced, the smaller, dusty gray, beat-up TV. 

From there it was very clear: I do not do well with change. 

College is arguably the most transformative experience in one’s life. It is scary. It is difficult. It is uncomfortable. The overwhelming change paired well with the fact that I don’t do well with facing an unknown future. While optimists may see this as a future full of endless possibilities, my pessimistic self prefers to articulate it as a future full of potential failure. 

So how did I become comfortable with my fear of the future’s uncertainty? I did what any college student would do: I procrastinated and ignored the problem. Simply put, I didn’t. And to be completely honest, I am still not comfortable with it. 

However, from my time here at Santa Clara, I have found the means to make navigating this uncertainty a lot easier. To nobody’s surprise, these means were sparked from a TikTok. While scrolling through at ungodly hours of the night, I stumbled upon the occasional video of rain pouring with inspirational music and a quote in big white letters across my “For You” page:

“Your fear of the unknown has you convinced that comfort is more rewarding than growth.” 

I read it again. And again. And if I could get it tattooed then and there, I’m sure I would have. It stuck. It followed me around. I put it on my LinkedIn bio and took it upon myself to share this wisdom with everyone and their mother. 

Though it may not have been the deeply life-altering words that everyone needed to hear, the cheesy line really did resonate with me. So when I was uncomfortable with completing a behavioral and group interview for a professional fraternity, when I would rehearse what I would say before entering a professor's room for office hours, and when my hands and voice would shake when making a doctor’s appointment (a task I was hoping I could permanently pawn off to my mother), I would remember that no matter how it went, even if I epically failed, I’d grow. And that was reason enough to try anyway. 

The motivation to grow helped me foster connections with my peers and with my teachers. It helped me cultivate a village, a home away from home that I could turn to to help navigate the turbulent waters of change. 

I learned that embracing the unfamiliar did not always have to be a bad thing, that change meant development, and that there are areas of support to turn to in order to recognize it. 

So when I went back home over winter break to find a bigger, blacker, shinier TV staring back at me, I smiled. 

Leavey Ambassadors Program Blogs 2023-2024