Coping with Change


Anshika Dubey '23

Frantically trying to keep emotions together and not break down while preparing for a test.


In the process of adjusting to Covid-19’s chaos, students were mandated to return back to crowded schools. This change evoked happiness for some and anxiety for others. Additionally, students encounter many changes in their lives that affect them, either positively or negatively. Changes like these have driven teenage brains to find mechanisms that assist them to deal with the tension generated by such shifts. 

There are four most popular types of coping mechanisms that students use when undergoing sudden or drastic changes: denial, projection, sublimation, and repression. 

The first one is denial and it is most common for humans. Denial is a type of coping mechanism in which the individual rejects the change they are going through. For example, a person who struggles with body dysmorphia denies that they have it because they can still function properly.

I feel like if a change happens, you cannot really react. It happens and you cannot do anything about it. It is better to just face it rather than sitting there feeling helpless.”

— Parth Patel ‘22

The second most common type of coping mechanism is projection. Projection is a type of coping mechanism kids use to vent out their emotions to someone else. This can include going home and being irritated with your siblings or parents. 

The third most seen coping mechanism is sublimation. This mechanism is more mature compared to the past two. It urges individuals to deal with their changes in a more socially acceptable manner. This results in a long-term transformation of the primitive impulse (which is socially unacceptable). For instance, many students decide to sleep when they are angry instead of doing something much more dangerous or socially inappropriate. This calms the student while transforming their anger into a softer emotion, which in this case can be overwhelmedness or vulnerability.  

Many Edison High students develop their own coping mechanisms.

“I usually cope by investing myself into music and reading… it helps me reset and face reality without going insane,” Victoria Oginni ‘23 said.

The last type of coping mechanism is repression. Repression is simply what it sounds like: blocking any unpleasant emotions that are instigated by a stimulus.

Parth Patel ‘22 stated how he used repression as a way to cope with changes without hurting his mental stability.

“I feel like if a change happens, you cannot really react. It happens and you cannot do anything about it. It is better to just face it rather than sitting there feeling helpless,” Patel said.   

Many students noted variations on their emotional reactions to change.  

Emily Ulozas ‘23 stated, “I like consistency. I always had lunch from the salad bar in school. On Friday the bar was closed and I got frustrated.” 

On the other hand, Rohan Singh ‘22 said, “ I don’t really care actually. Whatever happens, happens. Changes don’t affect my mood. I don’t let it.”

In Edison High, many students deal with changes, each managing them differently. However, it is noticeable that the majority of the time, changes make students uncomfortable because it creates uncertainty about the next step. 

It is necessary to acknowledge that despite changes being disturbing in an organized lifestyle, it helps stimulate growth. Growth is undertaken when an individual overcomes a struggle. Thus, students who are struggling while they go under various changes become better at handling them in the future.