Each new season brings change. As people bustle through the fall here on campus, I am visually reminded about beginnings – new school year, new friends and new classes – and endings. Endings often feel harder. Over here at the Student Counseling Center, we also experience this.
Right now we’re saying goodbye to two of our senior staff members, Dr. Jeff Guardalabene and Dr. Babak Govan. Both have been valuable members of our staff, great colleagues and friends. Saying goodbye to us feels bittersweet. On one hand, we are happy for the time we had together and glad they will have exciting new opportunities. On the other hand, we acknowledge that this loss impacts us both professionally and personally.
So how do you say goodbye? With a pat on the back and a cheerful, “I’ll see you around?” We’re usually not good at this part. We miss people when they are gone and the thought of moving forward without them can seem scary. Coming to college for the first time can be a thrill – but also can be very lonely. Saying goodbye to something or someone is hard. It is okay to feel upset about it. Sometimes even good transitions mean leaving something behind. Accept your feelings and allow yourself the time and space to grieve.
Sometimes we walk around during times of transition with just a vague feeling of unease or dissatisfaction. Take the time to think about what you’re worried about specifically. This can make getting through difficult periods seem more manageable.
If you’ve made it this far in life, I guarantee you have been through some transitions already. How did you manage them before? Were there things you did well? Things you would like to do differently? This is your chance to practice improving how you handle change.
Sometimes looking at the big picture can be overwhelming. Once you’ve isolated the things that are worrying you specifically, you can identify ways to address them. If making a whole new friend group seems daunting, perhaps focus just on going to one social event and talking to one person.
One of the things I always notice during transitions is my desire to go back and do more. Go on more coffee breaks with someone, take more walks through my old neighborhood, give my dog longer hugs. What do you have in your life that you can take the time to appreciate?
Transitions are hard, and feeling unsettled for a while is normal. Ask for the support you need from friends or family and remember that we’re always here to talk at the SCC. We can process how hard change can be together.
Joselyne Perry is the Campus Wellness Coordinator at Pacific’s counseling center on Cedar Street.