Skip to main content

Stepping Outside my Comfort Zone

Spring Retreat 2023 was by far one of the highlights of my BBSA experience, for reasons I never expected. Throughout my second year in Belles I served as a Social DB, and for this retreat, was tasked with the job of heading the Activities Committee. A couple months of planning and preparation later, I was wracked with anxiety about being so in charge– what if nobody had fun? What if we planned too much? Too little? What if someone gets hurt, what if I screw up as a host, what if quite literally anything negative happens? It was a very rigid, unforgiving feeling, and I was then left with the personal expectation that I was going to get there and not be able to enjoy myself because of this pressure. I was terrified of letting anyone down, especially so because this was the first weekend retreat Belles has hosted in years. If anything went awry, I felt fully unprepared to handle it, but at least I could say I had considered the worst. I tried to take solace in that semblance of control, then packed my bags and went to sleep.

Retreat did, truthfully, go unexpectedly. I was placed in a car group as the only passenger, my one road trip companion being a girl I’d never really spoken to, and I was dreading the two-hour car ride of forced social casualties. The first night, I was in charge of hosting two ice-breaker games, both of which I had planned and which required speaking in front of a decent-sized group. The second day, we had a morning hike, kickball tournament, and dress-up murder mystery on the schedule. Less than an hour before the hike, I realized the trail I selected was insanely complicated, and in an anxious flurry, had to select and lead our group along a different trail. The afternoon kickball tourney entailed intense heat, bugs, and lots of *friendly* competition, all of which I failed to previously prepare for and which left the masses exhausted. Because of this, it was suggested that we move the evening itinerary up a few hours to allow for less structured time once the sun went down. Needless to say, by this point I was fried, feeling as though every ounce of my anxieties were realized.

It was only then that it struck me– why have I been so consumed by every negative? I had allowed myself to live in that anxiety, allowed it to rule my experience because it helped me feel in control. Ironically enough, this anxiety was my comfort zone. To step outside of it, I had to let go of my planned expectations and simply… relax. This felt so foreign to me, but the second I made this switch I began realizing how many positives there had actually been. 

The drives to and from ended up blossoming a dear friendship, one that led to our newest adventure as Co-Social Directors. Our first night of icebreakers led so many Belles to connect more deeply with one another, whether they began as close friends or strangers. Our hike and kickball tournament allowed us a literal breath of fresh air and some much needed exercise (speaking for myself…), and I was told that both of these events were the highlight of many Belles’ weekends. Our murder mystery pushed us to use our brains, both logically and creatively, and presented a fabulous opportunity to glam up. We ended the night with stargazing, deep conversations, and s’mores casserole, and by then I had fully allowed myself to exist in the moment. 

This weekend was a pivotal moment for me, both personally and as a leader in BBSA. I made beautiful memories, formed and strengthened friendships, and came away with proof that stepping outside my comfort zone leads to much more positivity than negativity. Spring Retreat is now something I cannot wait to host this upcoming year, and I thank each and every Belle who was a part of my experience.

Belle love always,

Alyssa Hulse

BBSA Social Director, 23-24


Popular posts from this blog

Imposter Syndrome and Finding Myself

The person I was when I stepped on campus 4 years ago is unrecognizable to me now. I came to college knowing that I wanted to be pre-med but having no friends or family following a similar path, I felt so lost in navigating my path on my own. I started college being terrified of failing. I was so naive and so desperate to succeed I was not taking care of myself. My second year was when I reached my lowest point. I was so depressed and lonely, I considered leaving  UCLA. I did not feel smart enough to be there, I didn’t feel likable enough because I didn’t really have friends. Joining Belles in my junior year was a big part of completely transforming my UCLA experience. Belles was the first time I felt completely embraced by a group of people. It was the first space in which I felt like everyone truly wanted the best for each other. The people and the opportunity to help others were exactly what my heart needed at that time in my life. Service is something that is so incredibly importan

Finding My Community

Coming onto campus for the first time as a sophomore was especially daunting. Similar to most people, transitioning to in-person classes and dorm life was challenging. As I attended classes and other club meetings, I felt like I might have missed out on opportunities during the online year to reach out to people and make friends. Stuck with random roommates and no close friends on campus, I felt very isolated. This wasn’t the college experience that I had imagined. But then I started attending Belles meetings and events, and things began to slowly click into place.  Bruin Belles is such a uniquely amazing community where everyone is passionate about so many different things in terms of both academics and personal interests. The Belles community inspired me then and continues to encourage me to push the boundaries of my academic and professional pursuit, to put myself out there, and to carry a positive and optimistic attitude into all my endeavors. From volunteering at the LA Times Fest

One Year Ago, Today

One year ago today, I was working on my application for Bruin Belles. As I think back to that time of my life, I remember the immense sense of uncertainty I felt. Would Belles like me as much as I liked them? I look back at this time of my life, a mere 365 days ago, and hardly recognize the person I was. Belles has been a large part of this personal journey.  When I applied to BBSA, I was just beginning my junior year at UCLA. My first year had been cut short because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and my second year of college was entirely online. Determined to make the most out of the later half of my undergraduate career, I applied to Belles. I was resolute on finding a community that made UCLA feel like home (as cliche as it sounds) while supporting my personal and academic growth. After attending my first Belles event, I knew I had found what I was looking for (and more).  As an organization, BBSA has given me invaluable opportunities to serve the Los Angeles community, allowed me to le