Yesterday was a really emotional and strange day because my little brother went to high school in Cape Town, and we had to drop him off at hostel. Even though we’ll see him in two weeks, and then every single weekend after that for some reason it felt like we were sending him away to university or something. He’ll live in Cape Town during the week and be home on weekends, and I think it was quite hard for my parents because he is the youngest of us three kids and he is, in effect, the ‘baby’ of the family. New beginnings are always difficult, whether you’re the person beginning them or the people being left behind, and since I will also be making some new beginnings in a few weeks at university, I thought that I would put together a few tips for surviving starting something new.
I have had quite a few new beginnings in my life, because our family has moved around a lot. I’ve been to five schools, lived in two countries, visited many more and stayed in goodness knows how many houses over the last 19 years. I have mixed feelings about this because it is difficult to find a ‘home’ amongst all of the places that you’ve lived in, because you constantly leave behind friends and favourite restaurants and special places – which I spoke about in this post. It has also had a good side, which is that starting new things has never scared me. Starting a new school was just yet another school, with classrooms and teachers and lessons and correcting people about the spelling of my name and no it’s Francesca not Jessica. That’s why taking a gap year and travelling wasn’t quite as scary because new countries were just a part of life – which is kind of cool, if I might brag a little. I’m grateful for all the new beginnings because of all the people I’ve met, the things that I’ve experienced and the sights that I have seen. New beginnings don’t have to be bad.
1. Wipe The Slate Clean
A new school, university, town or job is the perfect opportunity to start afresh. You can literally reinvent yourself, because no one has any preconceived thoughts about you. If you always wanted to wear your glasses at your old job but you were always way too nervous to give up your contact glasses – now is the time to wear those glasses with pride. I also don’t mean this in a purely physical way – yes, change your clothes or your hair, but maybe you’ve always wanted to be more organised or more punctual, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. No one will know if you fail because they have nothing to compare it to, and if you succeed, then you can be seen as that new person you have created. Be more confident, put your hand up, give your suggestion, speak up if you think someone’s wrong, buy new notebooks and stationery and become the person you want to be.
2. Get Involved
This, I always feel, is one of the most important things to remember. If you’re starting something new like going to a new job or school, do for everything. Join the society looking for members, volunteer for the roster providing snacks for every friday’s meeting and say yes if some of your colleagues of going out for a drink after work. Don’t over do it of course and risk looking a little too desperate, but don’t be that person who sits in the corner smiling but never getting involved in anything. All anyone ever admits to regretting are the things that they didn’t do, and all the best memories are from those moments that you just said yes to.
3. Seek Your Great Perhaps
There is a great quote that I know from a book called Looking For Alaska by John Green (which is incidentally a great book), but which actually comes from Francois Rabelais (as his last words), which says “I go to seek a great perhaps”. You can take this is many ways but how I like to look at it is that everyone has something that they are searching for, and if we’re all totally honest most of us have no idea what exactly that is. You might have a vague idea of what job you want to have, or what house you want to live in or even what country we would like to visit one day but we don’t really know what is going to happen, and we always have something that we are always searching for. If you don’t think that you do, I think that you should start looking for it. And it might mean taking a step in the opposite direction that you were intending to, or starting something completely new altogether. And I think that that is really important. I think everyone should start looking for something to look forward to, and look for something amazing. There is always a ‘perhaps’ on the horizon, and we need to embrace that.
All of these pictures can be found here.
Are any of you starting a new school or university soon? Let me know in the comments x