I have never been the kind of person who accepts change with open arms. The thought of something being out my control creates a reaction of frustration. It branches off from the rooted sensations of sadness and apprehension. I’ve been taking some time to reflect on the most recent #SAchat that I participated in regarding “Transitions, Closure, & Moving On Well.” The chat was originally based on how one would go about announcing his or her departure from a position, and how to transition out of it smoothly.
Even though my Final Thought was focused on how an unsuccessful work experience still provides a beneficial learning opportunity, I started making connections on how taking the initiative to transition and move on not only applies to one’s development professionally, but personally as well. I am still fresh and new in the Student Affairs field and have not been in a position where I had to make a choice regarding my satisfaction in a work environment. I challenged the thought of my own anxieties of change, however, and the times I chose not to take action when given the chance to create a change of my own.
Why is it that once we have that power to initiate change in our lives, we back away or find ways to delay our actions? I have been asking myself this question all week and have not come up with a solid answer. But, I have found solace in some factors as to why and how to view it through a different lens. It is disappointing when an aspect in our life does not go the way as planned, especially when working in a field like Student Affairs. There were expectations that were not even remotely close to being reached, and events occurring that were completely unexpected and you weren’t prepared to handle. You try every possible tactic and find anything that can be modified towards the chance of bettering your experience, yet for some reason at the end of the day, nothing seems to work.
So what now? Does the phrase “it’s not you, it’s me” apply here? In this case, my answer is yes. Sometimes things don’t work out simply because they just don’t work. However, there is still autonomy to be taken over in the situation. The solution that I have come to terms with is to search for the silver lining in your existing circumstance and understand that it is okay to let it go and move on from it. Choosing to move on does not mean that you failed, or that it wasn’t worth the experience. It means taking initiative to change a current situation in order to improve personal well-being. In Student Affairs, the fear of taking such a risk like transitioning out of a position and facing the reaction from the #SApros and colleagues you work with may seem intimidating. The possibility of burning bridges or losing connections can feel detrimental to one’s professional progress in the present and future. However, you are not providing any favors by staying in a situation that is unsatisfying or no longer beneficial to your growth – whether it be as a #SAgrad or #SApro.
The silver lining in this case is accepting that you’ll most likely not leave a situation the same way you were as you entered it. That’s not a bad thing. As disheartening as the experience may have been, you have the right to use it as a way to ensure a more positive experience and apply it towards your next position and the new institution you transition into. At this point, it’s your life, your experience, and your happiness. It’s also your choice to decide how you would like to transition, find closure, and carry on. Your move.