Adjusting to a New Identity

student looking to the open sky

Of course, you are still the same person as you were before you started post-secondary studies but it may feel like you have a different identity because the way your peers knew you in grade school may be different from how you are now. You may have been labelled or identified as:

An athlete

Perhaps you played on all the school teams or you excelled in a sport or athletics as a whole but have decided not to play varsity sports – or maybe you tried to but were unsuccessful. It can be tough to go from practices every day, training, games and tournaments with your team mates to only schoolwork. As each season comes and goes you might be remembering back to the start of volleyball, football, soccer or other sports and feeling kind of lost. If you’re not an athlete anymore, then who are you?

A top student

Maybe in grade school you worked hard (or maybe it came easily) but you obtained top marks and maybe even graduated with Honours or Honours with Distinction. Post secondary studies can feel different and you might be struggling with your marks. Or maybe you were used to being known as the “Brain”, the smartest in the class, but now there are other “brains” and you share that title – something you’ve never had to do before. Or maybe you are struggling with your marks and you’re experiencing your first low or average marks and are having a hard time coping.

A performer

Were you an actor in grade school? Perhaps you had the lead in your school’s drama productions, and you enjoyed being on stage and found it fulfilling to hear accolades about your performance. It was fun to bond with your cast mates and revel in the finished production. But now, as you pursue post-secondary studies, there is no opportunity and/or no time for performing on stage. Always known as an actor who was told had potential to make it in the industry, now you feel like a regular student whose gifts are not being shared.

An influencer

Were you one of the “popular” students? If so, you had no trouble making or finding friends. You were invited to social gatherings, always had someone to hang out with at lunch or during breaks and were very well connected on social media. It seemed that people wanted to be with you or be like you. Now, in a new (and possibly much, much bigger school) and maybe even a different city – you’re feeling lost without your posse. Everyone you knew has scattered and you might be feeling isolated and not as confident as you once were.
If you were labelled in school (and you liked those labels), not having that identity can be difficult to adjust to. Especially if it was in an area in which you excelled, and you either no longer excel or have an opportunity to do so in that area, you may feel a little lost. Add that to other adjustments and pressures that come with post-secondary studies and you may need some support and a plan for making the transition smoother.

If you are experiencing an identity crisis, and it is affecting your life in a negative way, it may be time to speak with a therapist. The therapists at Insight can help. We deal with:

Support is just a phone call away. Contact the team at Insight to book an appointment with a therapist.