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Disorientation: Life Beyond the Comfort Zone

The Humanities Center encourages faculty and staff to create their own in-person or virtual events focused on this year's Campus Read. See the example below of a successful, comprehensive event from the 2019. To propose events, please email


Where do you fit in the culture around you? We live in a world of labels, and it’s easy to fall into the default settings of your environment. But when you’re confronted with culture shock, you’re offered a moment to evaluate and choose who to become. Using Tara Westover’s experience in Educated as a guide, we’ll explore the forces that impact your individuality and seek out ways to take control of your identity. 

Location: Mountainlair Green (Gold Ballroom is a rain back‐up)
Date: September 9
Time: 6‐7 p.m.

  1. Introduction
    Group Tag
    1. Find someone who has one thing in common with you
      1. *Cannot be attends WVU or lives in Morgantown
    2. As a pair, find another pair/group that you all share one thing in common
    3. Continue until the groups are as large as they can possibly be
    What topics came up? What do you have in common; what's different?
    What are some common labels assigned to people? Is this part of their identity or the larger environment?
  2. What is culture and what is my role in it?
    1. What environments have I been in?
    2. What is my identity rooted in?
  3. How do I expand/grow in my own culture?
    1. Culture Shock
      1. Expectation > Reality > Reaction
    2. Comfort Zone
      1. Has a role ‐ safety 
      2. Can be expanded
    Book excerpts: ACT, roommates, Cambridge scholarship
    Create 3 sets of labels for yourself (can be as superficial or deep as you want)
    1. High school
    2. Now
    3. Career
    What changed between High School and College? Why? (Events, new interests, sense of independence, etc.)
    What has to change between now and your career?
  4. How will you expand your comfort zone?
    1. Know your own competencies
      1. Types of intelligence, learning styles, talents
    2. Seek out opportunities ‐ even if you don't feel qualified for them
      1. Learn new things ‐ push past the point of discomfort
      2. Network with people you don't usually talk to
    3. Do what you know in new contexts
      1. Take classes in another country
      2. Expand your hobbies, interests, and talents