In this article I wanted to talk about adapting to different environments. We have all had to adjust to changing environments, whether that is at school, at university or even living in a different area. A lot of us have even had to adjust to working from home in this pandemic. I want to write this article, as adjusting to different environments has been something that I have had to do a lot in the last few years. It has come with its challenges which I will talk about in this article, but I also wanted to share my own experiences and what I have learnt from it.
There have been several times where I have had to adjust to changing environments. When I went to university, I was living away from home, so I had to adapt to the university environment as well as being able to live without my parents. Furthermore, when I went to India 3 summers ago to volunteer, I had to adapt to the massive culture shock in India compared to the UK (anyone who has been to India can relate). A current example is trying to adjust to my new job and the real world, in particular trying to deal with the challenges of working from home. I am certain there will be more instances in the future where I have to deal and apart to different environments.
One of the main challenges I faced when it came to adjusting to another environment was dealing with challenges that I had never came across before. For example, when I was living at home before university, I always had things done for me by my parents. However, when I arrived at university, I suddenly had to be more independent and responsible for my own things, and I was shocked at how hard I initially found it. The reason why I found it hard at the time because it was a challenge I have never faced before. Another example I can give was when I started my internship in the summer of 2019. As that was the first time I had been in an office environment for a long time, one challenge I faced was being able to switch off at 5:30pm (which was when work finished). This was something that was alien to me, as I never switched off that early at university or at school. Although you can mentally prepare for adjusting to a new environment, it is still hard when you have to face a challenge that you have never encountered before.
Another challenge I faced was dealing with the uncertainty that came with adjusting to a new environment. Before any sort of change, there was always a bunch of questions that was in my head. For example, before I started my internship last summer, some of the questions I had in my head was “Will I get along with the people in the company?” and “Will I enjoy the job?”. The uncertainly that comes before doing something new can cause stress and anxiety, and can challenge you mentally. Although you can mentally prepare for adjusting to a new environment, the fact that things will be uncertain will always prove a challenge.
I have got a lot better in adjusting to change and new environments over time, and I want to share two tips that helped me:
POSITIVE MINDSET – This is probably so obvious, but still a very important point to raise. A positive mindset always helps when it comes to adjusting to a new environment, and directly helps with the two points I raised above. When it comes to dealing with challenges that you have never faced before, although having a positive mindset won’t take away those challenges, it can help treat these challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Furthermore, having a positive mindset can help you deal with uncertainty. From my experience, when I considered adjusting to a new environment as a good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, things became more enjoyable.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME – No matter who you are, the chances are that you won’t feel 100% settled in a new environment straight away. Change always takes time to get used to, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if you take time to settle in. For example, the transition from school life to university is huge, and not only is the workload more demanding, if you are living out from home then you have additional responsibilities when it comes to looking after yourself. I know students that took a whole term before they felt fully settled in, and that’s totally fine. Furthermore, I know people what have been working for years, yet they took a few weeks before they settled in to the routine of working from home. Giving yourself time to adjust to a new environment is important, and reminding yourself of that when things are initially hard will help you massively.
How have your experiences of adjusting to new environments been? Are there any other tips you would give? Comment on the comment section below!