Coping with Transitions and Change

For many students starting a program at college or university is a huge transition.  Some  people have left home for the first time or are coming back after being out of school for a long time or have moved many miles from their home and country to pursue an educational goal.

Often people enjoy all the newness and excitement of the first couple weeks, but then sometimes go through a period of missing the known and familiar patterns of their home town or country.  It can be exhausting trying to navigate a new culture and some students are also dealing with new language, weather, customs and educational expectations.   A crash at some point is pretty normal!

Students and faculty at a Central Asian university recently watched the short educational video “What makes a Hero?” and shared some of the their personal Hero’s Journey experiences of leaving their known worlds and venturing into a totally new environment.  Just recognizing the archetypal nature of this transition was helpful and many people talked about the importance of patience, humour, curiosity  and self-compassion when confronting the inevitable doubts, fears and confusions that arise when we step out of our comfort zones.

What do you think of this short video as a way of exploring your experience as a student? When the narrator says “in the cave of our deepest fears, lies the treasure we seek,” does that ring true with your experience?  Any examples of how dreaded situations became treasures?


Here are some of the drawings of the ups and downs of students’ physical and metaphorical journeys to university.  I am sure the months ahead will hold many more twists and turns as they meet find allies, treasures, obstacles and mentors that shape their travels:

What helps you deal with life changes and big transitions?  Give us some advice in the comments below!


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