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Embracing Change Without Losing Sight of Who You Are

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

University is a very different atmosphere than high school. I look back on my high-school self and get confused as to how I thought about certain things or acted a certain way. I watch old videos and laugh, reminiscent on the good times but also confused where that version of me went. That version of me, somehow, got lost. I took a year off after high school and since March of 2020, I have become an entirely different person than I used to be. My dilemma was deciding if that was a good or bad thing.

When talking about change, it’s often an extremely positive or extremely negative remark. Someone may say “Wow, you’ve changed so much” in reference to weight loss with a smile on their face. Or someone may make the same remark with a condescending tone meaning the person has changed so much that they aren’t who they used to be. The latter is usually what occurs, leaving individuals wondering if they’ve changed too much, but change is inevitable. If every person was the exact same individual their entire lives, there would be no growth.

I’ve heard a remark a few times from individuals who knew me throughout high school: that university has changed me. I used to look at this in a negative light, as they said it was a bad thing. But when I look back at the version of me they’re referring to that existed back then, I realize I am happy that I’m different. I used to be a very closed-off person at the beginning of high school with next to no self-confidence to even participate in the smallest of things. I lacked the ability to do anything outside my comfort zone and lived in the shadows of others. My year off opened me up a bit more to the real world and university pulled me out of my comfort zone. Those who criticize you for changing don’t understand that you might be better off now than how you were before. Personally, I believe this to be true. As a person who used to live vicariously through those around me and do exactly what was expected of me, I now find myself discovering what I like regardless of what others tell me is right or wrong.

The only issue with change is when you change so much that you feel as if you’ve lost yourself. These thoughts have come to me a few times, as I look back at old pictures and videos and remember my thought process during a specific time. I realize that not only have I changed, but my mindset is completely different too. That’s when you must really think if your morals and values are still the same. Have they changed for better or worse? Change can be a good thing; it means you’re developing. But even as you change, you should remain yourself in some way. The difficult part is differentiating good and bad change. You won’t really know until you reflect on the past and present version of yourself. It’s a part of life to make mistakes and stumble along the wrong path every once in a while. The important part is to at least attempt to try out new paths and embrace change. Ignore what others say, ignore the remarks that you’ve changed too much. If you know who you are, with your goals in mind, you’re keeping true to yourself and embracing what life has to offer.

Embracing change can be scary. It can be easy to want to remain in the same, comfortable place forever. But if you never try things out, you’ll never know just how great you could become. Take the leap. Apply for that job, move away for school, get that tattoo. You can’t remain the same forever, so take the opportunities as they come. Take it slow and remember who you fundamentally are, but change is inevitable so you might as well make the best of it and take those risks.

Kaileigh Klein

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Kaileigh is studying Communications at Wilfrid Laurier University. When she's not binge watching Gilmore Girls, she can be found reading romance novels in the park or wandering aimlessly around bookstores inevitably spending all her money on books.
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