A neon sign that reads Change

Managing change: a challenge in emotional resilience

Emotional resilience is one of the most important, yet challenging, things to learn how to achieve when you’re faced with change. But what does it truly look like, and how can we ensure we are developing our emotional strength?

One of the biggest changes university students will encounter is starting your studies in the first place. Whether you’re one of the many moving to a different city (when the lockdown is lifted, of course), or you’re preparing to go through the inevitable move into a different kind of education, starting university is a huge shift.

Change is coming. Photo: Markus Spiske

But these changes don’t have to be as scary as you might think. Here are a few things we think are most important to consider when managing change.

First thing’s first, we are firm believers that the best way of dealing with change is to start with accepting its inevitability. Everything moves on, and attempting to stop it in some way won’t make it easier to deal with.

This can be a scary thought, we know, but it is also equally true that change, however inevitable, does not have to be a terrible thing. In fact, it is an excellent opportunity to adapt and improve.

As terrifying as beginning university is, for example, it is one of the greatest opportunities you will get to invent yourself in any way you see fit. It is a fantastic opportunity to be whoever you want or to create something you never thought possible.

Change can be an amazing thing if you let it. You just have to try your hardest to see it in the best possible light.

Dealing with change in the most productive way is one of the biggest indicators of emotional resilience. This flexibility, a mindset that we all must learn to grow, doesn’t have to look a certain way.

We all have an image in our heads of someone capable of the kind of emotional strength we all strive for. But this image warps and adapts differently with every new thing a person must deal with.

For some, emotional resilience will come in the form of an ability to talk out their struggles until they make sense. For others, their emotional strength is borne out of a capacity to compartmentalize their worries, never worrying about too much at once.

Really, we can’t go through the coping mechanisms of every person who has had to form them. What we can do is remind ourselves that emotional resilience is more about finding the thing that allows you to keep moving forward than it is about adhering to what someone else tells you resilience is.