Transitions

Changes are coming!   School starts in about a month, marking the end of the freedom of summer and the start of a more structured schedule.  While the transition back to school is generally an annual event, a bunch of my clients have a Big Change coming: the transition to High School or to College.  And based on what my folks are saying, this change is both exciting and terrifying.

Time for a little self-exploration: how do you manage change?  Do you embrace change? Do you avoid change?  Can you handle change, but you prefer predictability?

For some of us, change immediately brings forth some anxiety.  How will things be different?  What if I don’t like it?  Why can’t things stay exactly the same?

For others, change is welcome.  Change represents the chance to explore something new, experience something new, and get away from something you don’t love (middle school, anyone?).

For those moments when you feel excited about the pending changes, savor it!  You are about to embark on a new journey.  This is an exciting time.

For those moments when you feel anxious, remember to savor the aspects of your current situation that you really enjoy.  (Those favorite aspects might be sleeping in late in the summer, or being in a smaller school that you know really well.)  Take time to appreciate what you have, and then consider what is to come.

Anxiety is a pretty normal reaction to change, but too much anxiety tends to wear on a person.  See if you can pinpoint what is making you anxious.  Are you worried about making friends, being more responsible for yourself, the change in academic expectations?  Consider: have you faced a similar challenge in the past?  How did you fare?  What did you learn from that experience?  For example, most people have moved from elementary school to middle school to high school without major incidents.  Most people survive the changes in academic and social expectations.

While some people worry excessively about transitions and changes, generally the worry was unwarranted.  Determine if you really are obligated to worry that much.  Chances are you are NOT obligated to worry; you are over-achieving in the worry department!

See if you can list your concerns, look for patterns of success in the past, and chill out!  Remind yourself, “I am a smart person.  I can figure this out.  I can always ask for help.”

We still have some summer left; enjoy it!