At a recent assembly, I had the opportunity to speak with our students about my start to the new school year. During my address, I empathised with our students, especially those that are new to the College this year, by sharing some of my own experiences and encouraged our students to embrace change and enjoy the support of staff and peers.
New buildings, new uniforms, new school programs and facilities, is a lot to take in. Lots of new faces and names to learn and a completely new way of doing things! While all of this is very exciting, in truth, it’s also slightly daunting. Moving to a new school isn’t easy. Gone, is the familiar school environment I have known for the past six years, the friendships I established and the predictable daily routine. Now in its place is lots of change.
No longer do I feel comfortable and at ease but rather I need to remind myself to enjoy this time of ‘not knowing’ and embrace the challenge. However, it is also reassuring that I’m not alone. Even for those who have been at Princes for a few years, it is highly likely they are also experiencing some kind of change. Whether it be moving to the Secondary School from the Prep School or maybe making sense of all the emotions that come with the start of Year 12. For some of our Year 9s, it’s thoughts of embarking on the Wambana journey and wondering how they might cope with the unknown. For others it could be getting use to new teachers, new subjects, new co-curricular activities, new classmates, or new roommates in the boarding house. The list goes on.
Most of us, at various levels, are experiencing change. With change can also bring a degree of stress and anxiety! Feeling uncomfortable during a time of change is completely normal.
Dr Abraham Twerski, provides a really unique insight into what we can learn about change and stress by using lobsters as a perfect metaphor. In a short video, Dr Abraham describes how lobsters grow. As many of you would know, lobsters are essentially mushy animals that live inside a rigid shell. The rigid shell does not expand. So how does the lobster grow? The answer? Seeking shelter under a rock the lobster will cast off its shell and will grow another one. However, as the lobster continues to grow, its shell becomes confining and the lobster feels itself under pressure and uncomfortable, so it goes back under a rock again, casts off its shell and grows a new one. A lobster will repeat this numerous times. Interestingly the stimulus for the lobster to grow is that it feels uncomfortable!