Braer Moon is a Trust & Security Analyst at Discord

How does one find safety in exploration? I find exploration to be a frightening experience in many cases. You’re dipping your toes into the unknown, like going into a dark cave where you may or may not find treasure. Much like dungeon crawling, it can be dangerous to go alone and if you’re not prepared you can get your butt kicked by the monsters inside. So what can you do? Well if we continue to look at exploration like a classic RPG, the answer becomes a lot more simple.

First, make sure you have good party members. You want your support team to be in your corner, and you want to make sure that you aren’t using your healers as tanks or your archers as melee fighters. So gather up your friends, family, teachers, and colleagues and assess how they help you. If your friends are the sort to give you advice, go to them for it. If your parents give you a listening ear, that’s who you should talk to when you know the answer to a problem, but just need someone to tell you everything is gonna be alright. If you know, on the other hand, that you can’t talk to someone about your problems because they always make it about them or make your problems seem small, now is a great time to distance yourself from them; you only want the best in your party, not people who won’t pull their weight.

Next, your equipment. Just like you wouldn’t go into a cave without a light and a helmet, you wouldn’t go exploring without being prepared. This doesn’t mean that you need the best physical equipment in order to take up a new hobby or pursue a new field of study, but you need to be in a good headspace when trying something new and you need to know what you want out of it. If you know you don’t have time to start a project that’ll be intensive, don’t. The project will be there later, and you’ll be significantly less stressed out and more able to focus. If you are taking on a new field of study in order to change careers, think about what all that will entail: will you need to think about moving? Will you eventually need to take more classes to become more proficient in your field? Is there special equipment you’ll need? When you’re just starting you don’t need to get too bogged down in the details, but it is something to keep at the back of your mind.

To continue with the metaphor, you’ll definitely need to put time into grinding. A question often posed is “How does one get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” and any exploration into a new hobby or class will involve practice. As well as learning, set aside time to go over what you’re learning and perform what you’re learning so you keep getting better and better.

Healing items are last on my list here, but are by no means least important. Whenever you start something new, you’re going to be excited! There’s so much to learn, new people to meet and new friends to make, but with new skills comes new and exciting ways to fail as well. Some will make you mad, some will make you upset, and some will make you want to just give up, but in those moments you’re going to need to heal. This can go back to talking with your party members and gleaning some important lessons from them, but it also means taking the time to do self-care. As much fun as it is to take a relaxing bath, indulge in something sweet, or put your work on hold to watch a fun show, self-care isn’t just the fun parts. It also involves things like organizing your work and making lists of what you need to do, cleaning up your space so you can breathe a little easier, going to therapy and remembering to take your medication if need be, and asking for help when you need it. When you take care of yourself, you’re much more likely to excel in your exploration.

Keeping all of this in mind, you’re ready to brave the final boss. You have your party made up of an amazing support system, your inventory full of preparation and knowledge. You’ve grinded and grinded by putting in the time and effort involved in practicing, and you’ve got your healing items of self-care. Exploring something new isn’t so scary after all, as long as you’re prepared.

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