By: Han Slater

Is there a better simile to describe change? Change can come in small waves, like your favourite TV show changing time slots. Change can come in medium waves, like replacing clothes that have served their purpose. Change can come in large waves, like moving to a different city unknown to you. Finally, change can come in massive hurricanes and storms, like losing a loved one, losing a job, being ostracised from a friend group, being scorned by family, or losing a home. But, change can also be a positive force. Gaining a new friend, adopting a pet, getting a new car, a new job, finding love, purchasing a new home, or starting your own family. Change is like the ocean and its waves. It is powerful and unstoppable, and the force of change will pass in time. Sometimes it can feel like these waves are more prominent than they are, or they could be more extensive than we anticipated. 

I moved to a new city to pursue a career that provided a starting point for my degree. It didn’t seem like a massive wave because it was moving to a new metropolis, something I had done dozens of times before. However, I was mistaken. This wave of change proved to be not medium or large but rather a massive storm. I found myself in an unfamiliar urban jungle without prior knowledge or connections within its concrete trunks and window-paned canopies. How do you swing from the urban vines if you have never learned how to hold on?  

To be sure, it is a learning experience in itself, an overwhelming one. It is hard to keep up with everyone swinging above while trying to figure out how to climb the trunk of the concrete tree. Trying to avoid pitfall traps across the jungle floor also proves challenging. Learning to dance around the traps, climb, and swing all at once is a strain on the mind. That does not include the social aspect of living in an urban environment. In a more extensive city comes a giant social clique that is harder to navigate to find your niche and the people you identify with and support. The internet provides an easier path to navigate the social hierarchy of a larger city, but it can only do so much since most of your time is spent learning how to climb, dance, and swing.  

How does one manage all of these things that you have to learn? It is not easy but doable. What I have found in my own experience since leaving everything I knew behind to pursue a new avenue of living, it takes lots of reminders, patience, and an open mind. This advice may sound like a straightforward answer, but it is not. The difficulty of remembering to set alarms and reminders and being patient with ourselves when we do mess up or forget something is difficult. Open-mindedness comes with learning and choosing to see others’ perspectives in life that are very different from our own. Still, it is challenging for the general public that may not share the same sentiments of being open-minded. There are lots of obstacles that I have faced and challenged my sense of character and judgment since leaving campus and the immersive realm that is post-secondary. It is easier to give into what others want or expect of you and more difficult to remain true to who you are, but it is more rewarding to be your genuine self at the end of the day. Staying true to yourself defines who you are and aids in the process of determining who you are in a massive world that tries to make you into something else.

All I can offer, dear reader, are the simple words of staying true to yourself: patience, open-mindedness, and time management will help in the ocean of change and life’s journey. 

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