Adapt to Your Surroundings

While in college, I did everything humanly possible to avoid 8 am classes. I had no desire in the world to be up at what seemed like the break of dawn. Since I have a hard time waking up from an alarm, I knew that the dreaded 8 am class would not bode well for my GPA. Most likely I would oversleep a few classes which would negatively impact my grade.

My body does not want to function in an academic setting that early in the morning. Instead, I would make my schedule conducive to late night studying and Xbox playing, like most college aged males. Even though I had always been a night owl, my habits seemed to be reinforced due to living in a guys dorm where late night pizza and stupid ideas seemed to reign supreme.

For the past 21 years of my life, I rarely made it to bed before 1 am, but almost instantly upon arriving in Haiti, I woke up by 5 am and laid down for the night at sunset. Something drastically changed in my sleep patterns while I was in Haiti. What caused it?

In my travels to other cultures, I notice one thing seems to always happen. I act differently than I would if I was back in the US. I take more chances. I reach out to people who would intimidate me in my culture. Suddenly I think I have athletic ability that would allow me to climb rock face; the natives can do it, why can't I? My attitude and actions change when I get my passport stamped. Maybe it is simply a different mindset, but I modify my typical actions to fit the surroundings.

How you adjust in different facets of your life based upon your surroundings? Think of the times when you were at your highest points in life in whatever category you want to insert: academically, spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc. Chances are you were surrounded by an atmosphere that allowed that particular area of your life to prosper and flourish. The habits and subculture in which you found yourself apart of dictated to some degree how you would act while under those circumstances.

If you want to work on your physical appearance, you don't spend lots of time at buffets or McDonald's. You surround yourself with other people striving for the same goals. If you want to do better academically, watching movies every night for hours when you have homework doesn't help. You can pick your surroundings, but how much of an impact does the real setting play on your actions?

This leaves me with one question that I would like to hear comments from: do you change your habits, or do you simply modify behaviors depending upon your surrounding?

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK