Dealing with Big Changes: Going to College

In my experience, change has always meant uncertainty, which for me is the code for anxiety and stress. What I do when I get anxious is to make plans –long-term plans. We’re talking about a Master’s degree at NYU and stressing about how I’m going to pay for my shoe-box apartment in New York, when keep in mind I’m only starting college this fall. Which is even more stress-inducing because obviously, I can’t know how things will work out. Throughout the years I’ve (sort of) learned how to cope with it so as not to drive myself insane. However, being able to live in the moment and not worry so much about what the future may bring is still something I am working towards. Just a few weeks ago I moved away for college and the idea of leaving my comfort zone and bursting my safety bubble seemed daunting for the longest time. And as excited as I was to move to London to pursue my ambitions and grow, I was also terrified of how big of a change it was going to be for me. Without further ado, here are four things that have helped me stay sane throughout this transitional time.

 

  1. 1. Acknowledge that things are going to be different

    Denial is a force to be reckoned with and putting off thinking about a big change may seem like the easier option. I’ve found that I am mentally healthier and happier if I give myself the time to process everything that is going on, as well as make peace with the fact that things are going to be different, or even slightly more difficult at the beginning.

  2. 2. Change can be beneficial and help you grow

    Change is often perceived as something you dread and that causes stress. Remember that even positive change, such as going to college, can cause a great deal of anxiety and that is normal and okay. Objectively speaking, I’m aware of the fact that during my time away at college I’ll grow and get closer to becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be my true self. Subjectively speaking, however, it terrifies me. While scrolling through Instagram, a quote spoke to me, and I hope it will inspire more people to embrace both their fear and excitement: “Fear is normal. It’s terrifying. But isn’t it more terrifying to not follow your dreams at all?”. 

  3. 3. Write down your emotions & seek help

    My mind sometimes feels like it’s a cluster of thoughts, ideas, plans, and endless lists. Putting some of your emotions and feelings down on paper can quiet the loud noises in your head and make the world seem a little clearer. You also get to know yourself a little better by revealing some fears that you may be too scared to say out loud.

  4. 4. Give yourself a break

    During times of emotional and psychological distress, I’ve often felt like I had no control or as if I couldn’t even breathe. Try not to be so hard on yourself and forgive yourself for not being able to always make the right decisions or not being able to give your absolute best at all times. People make mistakes and that’s okay. That’s what makes us human and learning from those mistakes is what makes our journey worthwhile.

Change is synonymous with uncertainty, and while that is one of the most overwhelming feelings I’ve ever experienced, it is also one that has pushed my limits and helped me grow. Change can be hard. Growth can be painful. But nothing seems more painful to me than remaining stuck in a place where you don’t feel like the best version of yourself.