I’m sure that many of you would have heard this phrase countless times throughout your life. There are days you have to get out of your comfort zone and do the things that you want to be recognized. But, not all occasions deserve the phrase to get out of your comfort zone.
It was the first time; I have been told to get out of your comfort zone when I objected to the unfairness of the listening test. The lecturer mentioned this phrase when my lack of hearing would not help me in the examination. On the day of the exam, she said she would read, and I would have to listen (lip-reading involved) and write. Again, people, lip-reading, and writing do not go together.
You can either focus on lip reading or writing. In the lecture, I used to lip read and only note down the keywords when the lecturer stops talking. The lecturer at my university has been remarkable. Before I begin doing their modules or courses, they come to me personally and ask how they can accommodate me and what can they do if I don’t follow them. In the end, they questioned if everything was okay and if I was able to understand them. I personally felt so happy that they would go out of their way to make one student feel comfortable in their class. A privilege that I did not have at school. It was more catered towards the majority of the students who ranked better.
When I bought up the incident with the head of the department about the unfair situation, I had many lecturers who praised me for coming out to talk about the situation. I had another lecturer, who backed me up saying that lip reading and writing do not go together. I have always seen her lip-reading she would only note them down when I stop talking.
There are boundaries where you tell a person to get out of your comfort zone. I have known countless of Deaf people who have come out of the box in which people put them in, and achieve the extraordinary. They would have to go through a tough phase and trails to get into a remarkable position.
There are multiple ways we, as Deaf people, have come out of our comfort zone. We learned to talk, attend a mainstream school, participated in competitions, moved out of the house, and attended college or university. To you, this may seem ordinary, but it is the people who know the struggle would celebrate these milestones. The outlook we show in society is a different story, but there are countless decisions made within family members in the house. They are always trying to see if there is any other way that would make our life easier.
If you were to put yourself in my shoes, I was a person who was very conscious about my speech and cry at random times. I have come out of my comfort zone by attending a mainstream school, interacting with people, moved out of my own house temporarily. Today, I have always chosen the option of giving my presentation orally in front of the class when there are accommodations for a deaf student to handover a written transcript. It is up to them to address it in front of the room. I delivered my icebreaker at the public speaking club at the university.
Before telling the phrase, ‘get out of your comfort zone’ to a person, it can either be deaf or hearing. Please do consider the background story of that particular person rather than harping about coming out of your comfort zone because it was easy for you. Different people have different stories.