Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Growing up: a cultural change

By Veronica Gregochuk

Throughout my life, I have never dealt with change in a proper way. I mean, there’s no proper way of facing new realities, each person has their own process, but mine hasn’t been the right one. For you to understand what I am referring to, you need to know my reaction towards change is physical.

Whenever things change, I get sick. My first memory of a life-changing event was the moving of my best friend to Washington D.C. I was only four years old when it happened and I threw up for two weeks after she left. The same thing occurred whenever I changed schools or family members moved in or out. One of the hardest changes I had to face was moving back from Argentina. I remember throwing up every morning before going to school for two months. Because of this, I developed a chronic and nervous migraine, plus gastritis. As you see, I have never dealt with change in a proper way.

My last big life change may be summed up in one word: 2017.  I began my year suffering the most stressful months ever. I was supposed to pass every subject with high grades for a scholarship opportunity; enjoy my last six months of senior year; figure out my career and attend tours of universities that I didn’t even know if they were in my options and possibilities. When everything calmed down for a little bit, I felt reality as it was: change was coming without any warning. Trying to keep my feet on the ground, I spent the last few months creating the most amazing memories with my best friends. By June 23rd, I finally graduated.

Everything since then is kind of a blur. One month later, I was already attending university guidance sessions. In the same week, I took public transport for the first time in my life, I met my classroom partners and main teachers, I got food poisoning eating meat from a humble and suspicious stand located a few blocks away from the university, I fought over and over again with my education loan system and I got lost twice trying to walk from the university to the bus station. I hope it sounds as awful as it was for me. I spent the last six months of 2017 fighting against change. I was so mad with small unfairness, with the new people’s attitudes, with our chaotic weather and transport service. All I wanted was to go back to my comfort zone, to my tiny world. 

Leaving school is really hard. In the same year I passed from having a bus picking me up every morning, a warm lunch served at the same time every single day, teachers who felt more like friends than authorities, homework that may never be compared to university assignments and, mainly, a lot of time to spend, to a reality where the bubble-like world is no longer accepted and there’s nothing to do about it. I know we are still all students, years away from the real adult life, but the cultural change is still a shock. Leaving school and entering a university changes your way of perceiving yourself and your priorities. It changes the way you deal with reality, people, responsibilities and time. It even changes the way you use your language or decide your everyday meals. You become aware you are not a kid anymore and you have to respond to new demands. Most people, without realizing it, deal with a major cultural change that is also known as growing up.

After the long year I had, I found my place among my new friends and life choices. I taught myself to embrace change every single day and learn that better things are always coming. I haven’t seen my nails grow since July 2017, but that’s okay. At least my body is getting used to the whole changing thing.

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