It is close to the beginning of a new academic year – new students moving in.. Graduates too, taking up new jobs – and for all of us a time for fresh starts. It is our day-to-day experience that things around us are constantly changing. Sometimes that change seems to be for the good – and sometimes not. Sometimes we would like to escape from change… Maybe you have new lecturers? New neighbours? A new job? Perhaps you are getting old (of course, we all are!) Change can be painful, and unsettling – and sometimes disturbing… How can we find ways to face change and grow?

Once you were new – knew nothing – but now, they expect you to take responsibility for it all…  You are responsible for calculating the risks… You are responsible for teaching them…  You are responsible for a budget of…X    You are responsible for the design, the marketing, the production, the ideas…  You are responsible for the protest…  How can you share the burden? What will they think?

Going to a new place can be hard: You have come to like the old neighbourhood – but you have to move. You know the shops – but you have to leave the area. In the new place you don’t know how to get to the places you want – it’s confusing. The people there don’t seem as friendly (really? You can’t have moved to Jesmond!) How can you become part of a new community? What have you got to offer?

There are so many new starts – and every time you have to get to know new people.  Some of them you don’t feel as if you’ve got much in common with – they’re too old, too young, too into technology, too technophobic, too old-fashioned, too quiet, too noisy, too political, too clever, too serious, too frivolous…  How can we learn to walk alongside the new people we meet? How can we begin to enjoy each other’s company?

Getting here was the easy part – where do I go now? What is it that will drive me forward? What is the mountain top – or the view beyond – that draws me? Where is the signpost in the mist?