This past week marked my first full week back at school for the spring semester. And I won’t lie: it was not easy. I had a winter break full of amazing adventures and even more amazing people. I got to hike some of the most breathtaking trails in Israel, watch a sunrise atop a historic mountain, go dancing at Israeli and Spanish clubs (don’t worry, the legal age there is 18), take moonlit walks on the beach and share laughs with the people I consider my brothers and sisters. I’ve never been particularly good at transitions but the first few days back I was baffled by how strongly I wanted to hold on to the past, how badly I did not want to let go of the experiences I’d had. That ardent desire coupled with the fact that my classes started with a bang left me utterly exhausted by the time Friday rolled around. I called my mom upset on more than one occasion, wishing I could drop out and go back to the blissful existence of one without responsibility or a care in the world.
Alas, I cannot.
See, I really don’t like change. But then again, who does? Humans like routine. They like knowing where they’re going to go, who they’re going with and how they’re going to get there. The thought of the unknown tends to terrify us more so than anything else. Why else do you think we fear death? Or the future? Because we simply do not know what happens after death nor do we know what our future holds for us. But the fact of the matter is, is that the only constant we will ever have in our lives is change. So, the question becomes, how do we turn this inconceivable notion of change into something that we’re not scared of?
Imagine you are halfway up a mountain. In front of you is the top. To get there you know there will be obstacles, some you don’t even know about but you always know the reward at the top is great. Behind you is the bottom of the mountain. It’s a long way fall but you also know that even if you do fall, you can always get back up. It might be painful but there is no one stopping you from continuing to climb that mountain but yourself. People tend to be afraid of change because they fear that what will ensue is failure, criticism, pain, discomfort, effort and baggage. They wish to stay static because it seems easier- staying where you are in the mountain guarantees you no unnecessary hardships. But it also promises you no real gains. That for me tends to be the only way I really get past the fear of change. Even though I’ll hate the first week or so of a semester at school, and then I’ll be unhappy back at home during break, I realize that if I stayed where I was, there would be nothing else for me to look forward to. Change CAN be exhausting and terrifying, but is CAN also be wonderful. If my nine year old self hadn’t accepted change and gone to summer camp for the first time, I would never have been introduced to my second home complete with my second family. Had I never challenged myself to take an upper level sociology class, I would never have discovered my passion for the subject. And now, I am pushing myself to apply for a study abroad program in Argentina for an entire year. I am so scared but also so excited. This upcoming shift, for worse or better, will change my life forever, and I honestly can’t wait to see what it holds.