Growing up is tough. We don’t always feel ready to change schools, start our school exams or apply for university, jobs or apprenticeships. We might be afraid to feel the weight of responsibility that comes with growing older. But unlike Peter Pan, we can’t choose to simply ‘never grow up’. The best thing we can do is to accept that change happens, and welcome each new chapter in our lives with an open heart and mind.
The idea of ‘change’ is scary by design. To be pushed outside of your comfort zone and plunged into a new environment, with new people and pressures, is always going to be a challenge. We might also be feeling sad about leaving our current situation, or angry that things have to change in the first place. At moments like this it can help to be reflective about the experiences you’ve had so far. You will always be able take these memories with you into your new chapter, and look back on them whenever you need comfort or motivation. Our memories are naturally bittersweet, but looking at them positively reminds us that we are capable of making many more memories like this in the future. All we have to do now is go out and experience the real thing.
As well as reflecting, thinking into the future might also help to ease anxious feelings. Try to guess what memories you’ll have five years from now. How many exciting new chapters will you have had by then? Consider your hopes and ambitions, and whether you’ll be closer to achieving them. More often than not, embracing change is a necessary step to reaching these goals.
While it is so easy to see big changes as obstacles in our lives, it is far more fulfilling to think of them as opportunities. In this light, you can see how many new experiences you’ll have that will improve your resilience, confidence and build your personality. If you can learn to challenge these negative thought patterns, the concept of ‘change’ starts to look very exciting indeed. It’s true here, as in many cases, that the only thing stopping you is yourself.
When it comes to big changes in your life, it’s normal to feel excited and nervous at the same time. When you find yourself somewhere new, whether it’s a new school, job, university or hometown- it can be comforting to remind yourself: everyone here was new once too. Everyone has experienced the same ‘first-day’ nerves as you. It is only with time that we learn the ins and outs of our surroundings, and how to make the most out of them. In the meantime, trick yourself into a confident mind-set and it will start to become a reality. Know that you will soon feel at ease in your new space.
Although it can feel like change is something that happens to us, it’s also common to want to make a change in your life. Even if we’re in this position of power, we can still feel similar levels of anxiety and stress. It’s a good idea in this instance to remind yourself why you’re doing it; why need to take this step and why you’ll eventually feel better for it. Remind yourself how brave you have been to get this far, and promise yourself that you’ll make the most of the opportunity you’re carving out for yourself.
So while we’re all growing up and moving on from A to B, we need to do our best to seize the opportunities each day brings. We may not be able to prevent change from happening but we can make the most out of it, and help others to do the same.
If you live in Gloucestershire and are aged 9-21, you can get support from our TIC+ counsellors. TIC+ works hard at raising funds so they can arrange for a counsellor to see you for free, all you need to do is call us on 01594 372777 or text us on 07520 634063 to arrange an appointment. We know it can be hard to take that first step but, like the other young people we’ve helped, you’ll be so glad you did.
If you need to speak to someone urgently, call Childline on 0800 1111, NHS 111 (on 111) or the Samaritans on 116 123. There’s always someone there to help, and any conversations you have with them are confidential.
For more advice check out our SUPPORT RESOURCES page!