Thursday, August 11, 2016

A comfort zone away, a dream ready at bay

By Sreynet Chhem

This blog was developed as part of the Voices of Youth blogging internship assignment requirement. Views expressed here are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

© Sreynet Chhem

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." - Martin Luther King Jr

Life for me is like a  bus ride, and the many challenges like potholes along the road. During the trip, we share seats or switch them. We come across  multiple faces and changes in views outside our windows. Sometimes, we need to swallow our fear and  push ourselves to ask someone  whether we can switch from the aisle seat to the window one in the hope to experience a brand new view. Stepping out of our comfort zone is a bold move to see a better version of yourself that you would be grateful for. Apparently, applying as a blogger for VoY feels a lot like asking a really intimidating person to switch seats.You’re reading about an honored VoY blogger, Sreynet - someone who’s been in her bubble for awhile. Someone who has been in her comfort zone. Someone who knows how living with social anxiety feels like.

"If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write. Simple as that." - Stephen King

When I was in 4th grade, I discovered I liked writing. Reading was  the leisure activity that induced me to fall in love with writing. Everyday I would go to the school library and borrow myself a book to kill time on the weekends. I was extremely engrossed with the imaginary world the writers created through words. I tended to ask myself what my world would look like if  I were a writer. It was the moment I decided I want  writing to intersect with my future. I refused to see my dream exist only  by its name, so I made up my mind to start  reaching for it. One day I came back from school, my imagination alighted. That day I embarked on my first story. It was about giants.

"If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living." - Gail Sheehy

Years seem to flash with a blink of an eye. My family moved back to our previous home at the edge of the city. Unfortunately, my first story was gone with it. Our home was surrounded by greenery left and right. Pristine air filled our lungs as we inhaled. There weren’t many settlements on the way to our home back in those days. It was a strange thing growing up,  how I made friends with more boys than girls. As time flew, we grew apart and lost connection. I was a lone wolf once again.

Most of my friends went to the same school as me. Primary schools weren’t as lively as elementary ones. I believe most of us can agree to this. I remember studying at Don Bosco, an ethnic school. On every Wednesday, a TV would be wheeled into each class and everyone would sit enthusiastically on the floor and watch the cartoon play on the screen of a black 21 inch. One major thing I missed about elementary school is that we got to eat. On some days the teachers would present us different fruits and we would learn their names and eat them afterward to remember. In the afternoon, we would be served with a cup of brewed milk to add up the calcium to support our physical growth. Young life was all about being carefree and enjoying the moment, but to our dismay, it doesn’t stay forever. We grow and change to develop ourselves to confront the millions of different points of view in  the world  and embrace adventures waiting en route to better side of life.

"As soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning." - Barbara Sher

High school was a suppressive bumpy turn of the bus ride. I had to deal with dilemmas. I had to make choices between following what I love and what is good for me. My grandpa wanted me to pursue my studies in the medical field, so I would inherit his status as a doctor in the house. Like I mentioned, I want my life to do something with writing. I want to make my opinions matter. I want to pen my imagination. I want to create a world of my own. I want to do what my younger self told me to do. That’s what my dream  is about. I want to chase after my dream. I want to see everything making sense when we do what we love, not what we have to.

“If someone offers you amazing opportunity and You’re not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later.” - Richard Branson

University opened a door to a new start. Many opportunities awaited on the chessboard for its player to checkmate. I’ve hunted a few opportunities down while simultaneously trying to let my guard down. I’ve tried volunteering in a logistic team. I’ve tried to facilitate an event. All things I’ve tried to see to my alternative passion couldn’t stand as a replacement of writing. It was a miracle in July. It was implausible to let it sink in I’m finally doing what I love. I’m writing what I’ve always wanted to say. I’m writing what my thoughts have been screaming to be  freed. Thank you VoY for making a dream of an average girl in a small town come true. And you just read about me, Sreynet.

To everyone reading this, I dare you to leave behind your fears and doubts and follow your dream no matter how long it takes.


  1. As I read this, I repeatedly ask myself, "what kind of events had this person gone through in life and how much bravery does this person has to share a part of her on a blog post?" It feels as if I were reading a page out of somebody's diary, and it is absolutely amazing.

    Keep up your good work, and I cannot wait to read your next blog post. :)

    PS: Title on point. <3

  2. i feel this same passion about photos & as im embarking on the journey of my last year of high school & into adulthood ive been faced with the same challenege of moving forward with my dream or doing something more safe. that last line set a fire in me that's telling me to be a photojournalist. its what im meant to do. thank you. much love & respect to you sister.

  3. I am impressed. The quotes she addresses reflect life.