What moving 10 times taught us about being resilient

Authors: Isabelle Richards (left) and Psalm Delaney (right)
Authors: Isabelle Richards (left) and Psalm Delaney (right)

What moving 10 times taught us about being resilient

by Psalm Delaney and Isabelle Richards
Stripes Japan

Psalm Delaney is a first-year student at Colorado College pursuing a double major in environmental science and education and a minor in journalism while living abroad in South Korea where her parents are currently deployed. She is a journalist at the Catalyst, the college’s independent student newspaper, and is a member of the CC Tigers cross-country and track team. 

Isabelle Richards is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a major in international business and a minor in global policy. She helps run the UNC Instagram account, which shares virtual learning tips with students, and is also an ambassador for the Carolina Away program, a UNC program which helps new students meet each other virtually.

 

When a child first hears they are moving, they are often flooded with emotion. After all, moving involves a lot of change, whether it’s your friends, house or school. However, moving can also be exciting, as it brings about new opportunities and adventures. As military dependents who have collectively moved 10 times, we are very familiar with the moving process and can share how it fosters resilience, as well as tips on how to make it easier. 

Build a diverse network 
Moving to a new area means meeting new people, from friends and teachers to neighbors and coworkers, which is a great way to expand your support system. New friends can be a valuable resource and offer tips for acclimating to your new hometown, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. As Corvias Foundation scholars, we are fortunate to have a built-in network of mentors and peers who understand what it’s like to be a military child and who serve as our ever-growing support system. 

Develop strong interpersonal skills 
Moving every three years builds a lot of social skills, including relationationship building. Military children are adept at quickly connecting with others and are comfortable introducing themselves to strangers, which often develop into sustained, lifelong friendships.

Learn to be optimistic 
Except for your outlook, there’s not much in your control when moving. Having a positive outlook in the midst of constant change—even if it feels stressful and lonely at times—will make your experience well worthwhile, allowing you to embrace new experiences, cultures and people. It has certainly shaped our outlook  through our first year of college with remote learning during a pandemic.

Prepare for college 
When it comes time to attend college, experiencing multiple family moves prepares you to adjust to a new city, state or even country. Not only do you have the skills to build relationships with others and know what it’s like to be the new kid at school, you know how to cope and thrive in a new environment. Additionally, growing up as a military child teaches you to adapt to and perservere in new situations quickly, making the transition to college life easier.  

Help others
Not everyone understands the military lifestyle and what it entails. Whether you’re a military dependent or someone who has moved many times, you have firsthand experience with change and can offer advice to others who are experiencing a transition for the first time. Giving back to your community is a wonderful feeling and a great way to help others who might not otherwise receive guidance. 

Although moving can seem intimitading, it fosters resilience and teaches you how to flourish in new situations – skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will have the network, friends, positive outlook and experience to set yourself up for success no matter where you go – and to help others along the way.

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