Preparing to Change

I am a creature of habit (I have eaten lunch with my sister nearly every Monday and Wednesday for the past 5 months), and I do not enjoy when my habits are disrupted.

Change is uncomfortable, change is disruptive, and yet change is something we all experience.

I committed to attend the Institute for Advanced Analytics on March 3rd of this year. Since that date, I have had the opportunity to prepare and analyze the upcoming change in my life. I completed my undergraduate studies at Western Kentucky University, and then had around 5 weeks at my home in Brownsburg, Indiana to prepare for this ten-month whirlwind of a program before moving to Raleigh.

I thought about the change as little as I possibly could.

I was terrified to move to a new city, make new friends, start at a whole new school, the whole nine yards. I was grateful for the MSA Google forum that allowed me to “meet” some of my new classmates, find a couple of roommates while also constantly being reminded that our start date was getting closer.
The Monday after I walked across the stage at graduation, I began the online primer for the Institute. It was a great way to review my statistics knowledge while staying mostly in “school mode.” The primer was also great preparation because it gave me a bit more experience with the faculty entrusted by the Institute to teach us the curriculum. However, I distracted myself from thinking about the change by playing golf, spending time with my family, and doing everything I could to resist the change rather than embracing it.
Before I knew it, my move in date was upon me. My mom and I packed up my clothes, my limited kitchenware, my bicycle, and my golf clubs, and we drove from Brownsburg to Raleigh. The twelve-hour drive kicked in some anxious thoughts and feelings, but consistent podcasts and music changes kept my mind mostly occupied. I slowly moved my things into my new apartment over the next few days, but the change did not set in until my mom left.
There is not much that compares to moving to a city you have never been in, setting up your new “home,” and then having four days of zero planned activities. Having to set my own schedule in a new community with no job and no school was an absolute nightmare. I reviewed my material and hung out with my new roommates (Pro tip: Live with other MSA students – It helps the anxiety), but what I wanted was to get over my anxiety and actually get started. If you want a picture of my brain over those four days, look to the Venn Diagram below.

My mom always liked to share nuggets of wisdom when we were growing up. One of my favorite is:

“You have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to truly grow.”

I certainly do not enjoy being uncomfortable, but when I have been able to force myself to listen to this advice, I have experienced its truth. Committing to the MSA Program is not something I did in order to be comfortable. It has made me anxious through the whole process. However, I believe the next ten months are going to be full of new memories, hard work, and growth.

The only thing left to do is get started!

Columnist: Alec Brown