How a lifetime scared of change transformed into a lifestyle of looking for change
By Kiana Wright
The word foster is supposed to be defined as encouraging or promoting the development of something, however, I find that I associate that word with something negative. Growing up in the Reading foster care system, I was not pushed or encouraged to develop into something great.
My lifestyle was constantly changing from one terrible home to another, experiencing what felt like a lifetime of change, more than any child should. By the time I had found my forever home, change was something that I grew to fear, and before someone could help fix that, I found myself avoiding any type of change as much as I could.
My first semester at college at Reading Area Community College was in the fall of 2018. I had gone into school dead set on becoming a social worker with dreams of working in the Children and Youth agency helping children find a better home and living a more luxurious lifestyle in comparison to the one that I had. Becoming a social worker would allow me the opportunity to make a positive change in someone else’s life.
Going into college declared a social work major allowed me to schedule myself classes that would count towards my ASW, Associates in Social Work. My first social work class was Introduction to Social Work. It would outline the general components that make social work the profession it is. We learned the basics of what characteristics it took and how a social worker has to possess empathy and a charismatic character.
One of the most important lessons that was taught was that sometimes-past experiences with social work will hinder a person’s ability to do his/her job to full capacity.
Learning about this factor, I began to subconsciously wonder if this was going to be the job for me. Knowing that my future self would be going into a job where my day would consist of dealin with the same circumstances that I grew up in would prove to be difficult and taxing.
I quickly found myself thinking about other jobs that I was interested in and other professions that my character would fit into. I thought about myself sitting in other classes that would pertain to a different major and what it would be like if I had chosen a different major.
I was extremely terrified to make what seemed to be such a big change in my life. Up until college, I had lived the past four years of my life with a family that loved me and was there every step of the way, almost to the point where I felt sheltered from the possible pain of change. When college started, I found myself interestingly enough being back in the city where I grew up surrounded by corrosive change and stuck in a cycle where nothing got better. However, I felt an unfamiliar feeling of peace and acceptance and not hatred or nervousness.
As the days of the semester continued to be ticked off, I felt more and more at ease with the thought of making a change for myself.
It was about the time that the leaves started to change color and the weather started to feel cooler that I made the executive decision to change my major. I firmly believe that there was a correlation between my courage to make a change and the fact that the seasons began to change from summer to fall.
There were many days that I would find myself looking out the classroom windows and watching the weather. I always loved watching the leaves change because
it was a slow gradual change and not something drastic, much like my decision to change majors. It was a comfortable change for me and a peaceful one at that.
I had approached my Introduction to Social Work professor who also happened to be my advisor and told her about my past and why I had chosen social work as a major. I explained that I had lost the fire and drive in my heart to follow through with this decision. She was not disappointed but very supportive. Mrs. Bower was also a social worker who could see that there was a past of hurt and could recognize the difficulties I had with making a change. She understood that I could most likely never sit face to face with a mother who abused their child and sleep at night knowing they were still sleeping in that house.
I was shocked with how supportive she was with a change that I had made so early on in my college career. According to the Center for Education Statistics almost 80% of students change their major at least one time, and I was going to fall into that 80% when I was done with the meeting.
I had ultimately ended up transferring to a communications major where there was a much wider variety of jobs that I could pick from. My biggest dream was to always become a news anchor which was a more positive career than social work would have been for me. I never once regretted the decision to change majors and once I made a change for myself, I began to feel more comfortable with any type of change that life would throw my way.
It is hard to see that change can be positive even when a person goes through a lifetime of hurt. No matter the circumstances that one goes through, whether it be the foster care system like me or some other negative time in life that makes a person scared of change, there is always something that can make a person look at change and open his/her eyes to how positive it can be.
I had to let go of the past and realize I was living in the present. Yes, college can be a scary place but it brings so much positive change to one’s life. Changing majors is something that in this generation is normal regardless of some academic administrators frowning down upon it. There has to be a time where people begin to live their lives and not in fear of change but instead embracing it.
People can look at the weather and seasons changing and recognize that no matter how many times the leaves fall off the branches, the trees are still standing tall and ready to return back in the spring full of color and life. They embrace the change that comes with their life instead of dying right away and giving up. This was where I drew my courage from to make a big change in my life. Or people can draw their ability make change in another aspect but the matter of the lesson is that change is always going to be there in people’s lives and it is not something they can run from.
Maybe it took me coming back to the town that originally instilled the fear of change and looking back at that life in retrospect to now where I am living a life where change is encouraged and positive was the thing, I needed to recognize that change is okay. I learned to be able to stand tall and firm like the fall leaves and decide to make a change for myself for the first time in my life where I didn’t feel like I had to run away at the first signs of oncoming change.