Despite consistently promising people that my biggest fear is heights, I believe it could be change. I never realized it until University, but when things change, you can usually count me out. Everything from moving to a new house to entering high school seemed to frighten me, simply because it was new, and it was change. When I moved three hours from my rural home town to the big city of Oshawa, it felt equivalent to standing on the edge of the highest cliff I’d ever climbed. I was terrified, afraid to fail and to fall. Moving away from home challenged my mental health in more ways than I had ever imagined. I didn’t realize though, it was also strengthening my courage, self confidence, and independence.
I moved into residence at UOIT last year to continue my education in post secondary studies. For many of us, University has to become a home away from home. Until that moment came for me though, there were a lot of moments I felt helpless and like I was alone in the city full of people. I thought I had no friends, and recall many phone calls late at night with my mom, telling her how everyone around me was making friends, and I was not. I think for a lot of people, self-confidence is a huge issue when moving to a new place, just as it was for me. In my small town, I had already established who my friends were, and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to make any more. After finally building up the nerve to leave my little residence room and hunt for friends, I realized there were a lot of people doing what I was doing- fearing change and hiding from new experiences.
After finally realizing that the experience of University was a new opportunity rather than a horrible change, I found myself surrounded by people that were very much like me, and that cared about me as a friend. When I dragged my bags to University last September, I only dreaded what I was leaving behind. After taking a moment to allow myself to find change as a positive thing, I found myself gaining not only a better experience during first year, but also finding more courage, better self-esteem and more independence.
If you can take anything from my experience, take this: change is okay. I am still trying to convince myself of the same thing, but I have realized time and time again that change has often presented me with some of the best moments of my life. Moving away from the home that I was comfortable in really challenged me to become more confident in myself. I believe that the stresses and insecurities I had while moving away from home were normal. They challenged me, yes, but they were normal. I overcame them, and while doing so, found a more confident and independent me at the end.