How many times have you heard that phrase? What does it mean? Is it a good or bad thing? As a young kid, upon hearing this phrase several times in my freshman year of high school, I was perplexed. I questioned it and pondered its connotations regarding my development. As a student in high school, I know that change is inevitable and imminent during my time in school. My freshman year has been very formative and I have been changing at a very rapid pace; I’ve assimilated into various friendship groups, participated in sports, was a solo instrument player, and my overall personality underwent a complete transformation from middle school. I wasn’t sure whether these changes were “normal” during the high school transition. My grades also dropped slightly when I entered high school—when this first happened, a myriad of questions stormed through my brain: was I less focused? Was I never truly prepared in middle school? Was all that middle school praise insincere? Have I been mediocre my entire life and just never thought about it?
Coming to think about it a while later, change is simply a representation of growth; not only physically, but socially, emotionally, and intellectually. As we meander through life, we experience events that anger us and excite us. The product is our character and personality. As we meet new friends and try to fit in, our personalities change. As we establish and maintain boundaries, we may not appear as sweet or kind as we used to be. Although we should strive to be kind, we all have limits and that’s something I struggled with in middle school. The anger and resentment that emerges from those events when we let people take advantage of us and cross our boundaries are the best experiences to learn from.
In middle school, I was the shy, insecure girl. I suffered endless panic attacks, my face went burning red whenever I stepped in front of a crowd, I often refused to make eye contact in the halls and was scared away by authority. I barely spoke to anybody. I didn’t have too many friends, but many acquaintances. I had a crazy fear of being judged. It wasn’t until I discovered my passion for playing the violin that maybe that’s what I wanted to pursue—it was the one thing I was confident in. So I continued that in high school and I do not regret it. It helped a lot with confidence—and so did running and sports. You meet amazing friends through these experiences. As a result, I enjoy high school much more than I ever enjoyed middle school. The competitive atmosphere and challenging academics become a humbling experience that encourage you to work harder as you recognize progress in the journey. And coming out of adversity as a better person (which takes months of hard work and good relationships) becomes the most exhilarating, amazing feeling in the world. For the strong fighters out there, “it gets better” is quite cliché—but no phrase rings with more truth—it takes time.
Honestly, I don’t think change should be taken as a bad thing unless it involves self destructive behavior—in my case and others I know, most people are simply growing and learning. Some people around you—family members or friends—may not like it or it may take time to get used to these changes. And that’s okay—it isn’t always bad—but healthy relationships should be accepting of good change and growth.
Feel free to let me know what you think of change in the comments below. Whether it be an account of your experiences or comments on mine or others, write anything because I love to hear you guys’ thoughts! They matter a lot to me and I will try my best to respond.