Change and Managing Adjustment

Kirsten Murray


Change. The word quite frankly terrifies me. Although I’m excited for the future and next steps, as the ‘change’ draws nearer I feel increasingly uneasy and anxious for what is to come. This is how I felt about university. I remember two weeks before starting uni speaking to my Auntie and saying “I’m excited, but it’s a big change, and I don’t like change.” Truth is I’d never really experienced change. Obviously, the move from primary to high school was a massive change when I was 11. But by the age of 18, I had completely forgotten how I dealt with that change, and of course, the move to uni is a lot bigger.

I’m writing this piece almost as therapy for myself to remind myself that it is normal to be anxious about change, especially after you have been settled for so long. The majority of us have been at home since March (I feel like I pretty much reverted back to being in Year 12!) So even if you think you’re sick of your family, you’ve spent a long concentrated amount of time with them, therefore moving to uni and having a complete change of environment will be a shock. But I am here to say that it is okay, you will settle and everyone is in the same boat!

Here are some tips for dealing with change and adjusting to a new stage:

  1. Give it Time – It may not happen immediately, but it will happen. Throw yourself into the new life and before you know it time will have passed, and you’ll realise how far you’ve come.

  2. Make Plans – Bond with housemates, explore the city, join societies and spend time getting to grips with your degree. Build yourself a new routine and then you’ll know how to spend your time each day, plus when you phone home you’ll have lots to talk about!

  3. Don’t be afraid to phone home – Don’t think not speaking to your family is how to stop homesickness. Sometimes you just need your mum! Look forward to a conversation with your family and it will become a weekly activity where you tell them all your news.

  4. Learn to enjoy spending time with yourself– You may think you’re already independent, but uni is a whole new independence. In my first year, I struggled with the mentality that if I was alone it was because I was lonely and had no friends, but this is not the case! Watching TV by yourself, having an afternoon in town or taking some time for self-care are all great ways to spend time and get to know yourself.

  5. Talk to people – making friends is nerve-wracking, but if you’re struggling to adapt then don’t be afraid to tell someone. People may look as if they have settled in and aren’t wasting a minute thinking of home, but trust me- the majority are and they’ll be able to offer you advice and create a sense of togetherness.

Please remember change is necessary and exciting! I’m about to start my third year, and after a long period of time at home, I’m anxious to start uni again, especially due to the circumstances! But we will all be okay and adapt, you are tougher than you think and before you know it you’ll have fully adjusted and will love the uni life!

Kirsten has a blog called The K Word where she writes book reviews, opinion pieces and travel articles, which she would love for you to check out.

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