I’d like to start with a quote from Leo Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
The dictionary definition of “change” is to make or become different. In other words, change is experiencing, being imposed or becoming something different than the ordinary. Personally, change has done me more good than harm. It was never very obvious to me that change was a positive in my life because it meant taking away my friends, my extended family, my security and what I thought made up my identity. As some of you may know, Stanstead is my seventh school. Seven schools in twelve years of education, in sixteen years of life. Moving so much has forced me to adapt to change. Change became a routine, a reality. So instead of taking away what I thought made up my identity, change shaped me and helped me become the person I am today.
Change is more often than not, hard. It’s fighting against the unknown but also accepting it. That’s the hard part, accepting it. Accepting and dealing with change can be extremely difficult.
I initially had a hard time dealing with change. When I first moved to Colorado in my sixth grade year, I was abruptly faced with culture shock. I was entering a new country, speaking a different language, knowing absolutely no one. I was terrified. I was alone. Every day I was alone. I did not speak to anyone in class, ate alone at the cafeteria and cried every night. I had to make a change, there was no other way. I had to do some serious introspection because I knew I could never survive the next five years by myself. I learned the hard way that you should embrace change.
The next four years in Colorado were the best years of my life. Chasing change became easier and way more fun once I took a leap of faith. I joined sports, made friendships that will last me a lifetime, had crazy unique experiences and got closer with my family. Change became a very common word in my home; we were always looking for it and still are today.
We often hear the action of change in the media. To “ignite change” or “demanding for change.” It always comes up whether it's positive or negative. The world needs change. It needs to evolve, grow and learn from past mistakes. More people should be encouraging and helping the world move forward. If people did not seek change, women would not have the right to vote, own property or even play hockey. We would not have smartphones, we would not be taking antibiotics and we would not be allowed to all be in the same room today. We all need to acknowledge the importance of going that extra mile to achieve something great. That extra mile often includes going out of your comfort zone, changing habits, being curious, trying something new or accepting all the challenges life throws at you.
When we think of people who changed the world we think of Martin Luther King Jr., Malala, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Einstein, but what we fail to remember is that they were not the only ones fighting for something bigger. They had support, hope and believed they could make a change. They wanted to change the world not only for themselves but most importantly for everyone else. They made the world better by chasing change. So why is it that we all fear change?
The word “change” is often related to negative outcomes such as climate change. It can create fear and also make people feel powerless. But, people can be empowered to influence change within their communities and the globe. We’ve seen kids not going to school and fighting for change in the streets for issues such as climate change and gun control.
We are all guilty of running away from change at some point in our day, week, month but especially on impactful life decisions. The crucial thing to remember is that change challenges us to be more diverse, flexible and adaptable. Yes, it can be scary and not ideal at times but whether the change was good or bad it will always help us learn and grow.