Home | Video

Confronting Change

Ben Chadwick, Grade 12
One year ago, I made the biggest change in my life.
I’ve never been good with change. I always find myself agonizing over my decisions. I can also obsess about what I am missing out on rather than the new experiences that are ahead. When I came to Stanstead, in grade 11, I changed my mind about twenty times whether I was actually going to come. My big concerns were that I was walking into an unfamiliar environment with new people and being away from home for the first time. My biggest fear was that I was going to be all alone. I was afraid to leave my comfort zone and put myself out into an uncertain environment. To get me prepared for my new school, my parents and I decided that it would be a good idea for me to go on a wilderness hiking trip for 10 days to help me get ready for school.
At the time, I did not see the value in this because I did not understand how sleeping in the woods and hiking 20km everyday for 10 days with no technology would help me prepare for a boarding school. Now thinking back on it, it really didn’t help me prepare in the way I thought it would. I put myself outside of my comfort zone and this helped me realize that I can do more than I thought I was capable. This trip was not the most fun I have ever had, especially, when it rained for three days straight and was freezing cold. This trip's purpose was not to have fun but more so accomplish something. There was another part of this trip that made me reflect a lot. It was a 24 hour solo trip, where you slept under a tarp with no one around you. You were not allowed to talk to anybody and the purpose was to reflect. I reflected on how I was moving away from home in three weeks and had no clue what to expect. I remember walking down to the river that my campsite was placed near and thinking that all of my fears about school.
I went through every fear that I had and started to realize that though these fears were rational, a lot of them were irrational. During this time, I had no distractions and nothing to do, just time to think. I finally realized coming to Stanstead was not going to be easy but it was something that I had to try. When my parents dropped me off, right after they left I freaked out. I was so nervous about my new experience. It was a different type of nervousness not as much being away from home but more excited to get started. This was the moment where I felt comfortable in the decision I made.
I was so close to not coming here. I made the more uncomfortable choice for myself. I still think about what would’ve happened if I stayed in my comfort zone and didn’t leave home. I would’ve missed out on so much. Everybody at this school has put themselves out of their comfort zone by simply making the choice to come here. I advise all of you to continue to place yourselves in more uncomfortable situations because there are so many positives that can come. As we continue to move on from Stanstead and start new chapters of our lives, we all will find ourselves in uncomfortable positions. Being in my last year of high school, there are more unknowns and new fears that are beginning to set in. However, after having dealt with my experience of getting out of my comfort zone, I know that I am ready to face them.