Astronaut tells youth to step out of comfort zones
"It isn't about dreaming, it's about doing," NASA astronaut Anne McClain said she learned in the pursuit of her goals.
She spoke Sunday, Nov. 17, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church to young people and their families from St. Stephen's, St. John's Cathedral and St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
In her presentation that included videos from her space travels, the first slide was her at age three ready for the first day of pre-school. Before going, she told her mother, "I going to school to learn to be an astronaut."
Anne grew up in Spokane, attending Catholic schools. She also spoke at Gonzaga Prep while in Spokane.
In the International Space Station, she said, astronauts from different nations work together to accomplish missions and take care of each other.
Working together is critical on the space station. Each astronaut has to take into account the others' strengths and weaknesses to let others strengths compensate for their own weaknesses, she said.
Anne listed the five things astronauts in the space station do every day: station maintenance, scientific experiments, robotics, space walks and exercise.
Space walks are "both terrifying and exhilarating," she said. The first time she was outside the station, she looked down and saw her feet and nothing below them except the earth so far away.
Anne offered the youth other lessons for life, inviting them to repeat after her four affirmations:
• I am loved.
• I am proud of myself.
• I am brave.
• I can do hard things.
To realize dreams, she said, people have to be willing to get out of their comfort zone. She showed a slide of two circles, one labeled "Comfort Zone" and the other, "Where the Magic Happens."
"The circles are separated from each other to show that we can't stay in our comfort zone and still get to a place where our dreams come true," she said.
It's important for people to know what their passions are and what it takes to achieve them, Anne said, aware everyone has doubts, but "we are smart enough and strong enough to realize our dreams. It means we need to be a little bit braver than we are scared."
Anne also discussed scientific experiments done on the station.
For example, crystals grow larger in space than on earth. A particular crystal needed in experiments to cure Parkinson's disease grows much larger in space, which is better for that research.
While in town, Anne also shared her adventures on the space station between musical numbers for the Spokane Symphony's "50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing."
For information, visit nasa.gov.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, December, 2019