Five ways to survive change

We are all looking for love. We all want to belong, to create a life of meaning, to change the world for the better somehow. We all want to know that we matter.

For us to do the great things we plan to do in this world, we have to grow and we have to change. Sometimes this growth or change is painful.

The transition from high school to college is huge. This is the time that we break away from the safety net of our small ponds— we leave behind the families and communities we’ve known for most of our lives— and leap into a much larger pool. We don’t know many of the fish in this pool, and we feel a little outside of our comfort zones. We’re still the same fish that we were in high school, but now our physical limits have expanded and our safety nets are much farther away.

Each year that we move through the ranks, we get more and more comfortable in our college world. But, in the back of our minds, we know that each passing year brings us closer to another massive life change— graduation and entry into the working world.

This wide open space can be intimidating and can bring up a sense of fear or anxiety as we look toward an uncertain future. We may feel pressure from others to choose a certain career or path that isn’t in-line with our own desires. The thought of leaving our close college friends and building a life in a new city or country can strike terror in our hearts.

So, how do we stay true to ourselves as we successfully navigate this ever growing, changing world?

1. Make a vision board. Having dreams, goals, visions and plans are vital for creating a future for yourself. Vision boards are visual symbols of the things we value most in life. When we tear out pictures from magazines that resonate with us and creatively piece them together on a poster, or build a virtual vision board on pinterest, our subconscious minds can get in on the act of helping to bring that which we desire closer to us. In creating your board of images of your greatest life, you may discover things about yourself that you didn’t realize were important.

2. Let go of your expectations. Having a vision for your life is important. Knowing yourself is even greater. Our expectations of what our lives should look like can limit our happiness. If we don’t get what we want, we may believe we’ve failed. Expectations are a setup for failure. When we know what makes us happy, content and fulfilled, we can be open to experiences and work that brings these qualities into our lives— no matter what shows up. When we are more open, we are more joyful and more opportunities will come our way.

3. Begin to be okay with pain. It’s ok to experience heartbreak. If you are a human being, heartbreak happens, a lot . Embracing this pain can open us up to greater depths of compassion and connection to one another. I’ve learned the hard way that running from pain is a sure way to be struck with greater problems in the long run. Know that whatever it is that you are dealing with— you are strong enough to handle. Face the pain and walk through the fire. Then you can relax and revel in your strength afterward.

4. Acknowledge how far you’ve come.
No matter what stage of life you find yourself in, you have come a long way to get here. Look back and take stock of all the hurdles you had to leap and all of the challenges you overcame to get where you are now. Change and growth occurs daily, and it can be hard to see how much you’re accomplishing each day until you actually look back. Pull out that old high school yearbook if you really want a laugh.

5. Stay connected to good friends and family. As you continue to grow and develop, your friends and family will help to keep you on course. These are the people that will support you as you chase your dreams, be there for you when you fall, and help you make sense of everything in the end. Keep in touch with the people that you hold dear. Call, text, send cards and visit. Be thankful for the connections and love that you have in your life, and show up for the people that mean the most to you. This is really what it’s all about, anyway.

Credit // Author: Parvati Shallow

Parvati Shallow is helping students conquer their fears, climb to new heights, and celebrate life’s adventures. Learn more about her inspiring keynotes at and follow her on Twitter at @ParvatiShallow.