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Campus Counselor

Campus Counselor: Do not fear others’ reaction to change

Olivia Hupp discusses the idea that we should be open to change, even if our peers aren't.

In today’s society, change is both advocated for and pushed against.

We call for change in the way our government is run, the treatment of social groups and how people identify themselves in regards to their gender or sexuality. We can accept change when it comes to celebrities and other public figures, but we tend to react negatively when it comes to our family and friends.

Change, it seems, is only acceptable on larger scales, not smaller ones.

We see it every day — stars like Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence ditching their long locks for shorter cuts, and we’re never quite sure how we feel about it. Most reactions start with shock and anger to an eventual sense of acceptance once the aftershocks of the initial earthquake have subsided. At the end of the day, we accept the change because we have no influence and it doesn’t affect our lives.

This past weekend, I made a similar decision. After battling with myself for months, I put my trust in a walk-in salon and allowed a woman I had never met to cut my hair shorter than I have ever had it before. While I was thrilled with the result, I was left wondering why I felt such intense levels of anxiety. It wasn’t the change I was afraid of, it was the reactions.

I’ve approached my friends with the idea of this haircut multiple times over the years and all were met with negativity. The most compelling arguments they could make were that “it just isn’t you” or “I prefer long hair on girls.” They had fallen into a comfortable version of myself and were driven by their own personal preferences and biases.

Sitting in the salon chair, I began to doubt my decision, fearing that my friends would not approve or that my boyfriend would leave me because I changed something so trivial that had somehow come to define me as a person. Every disconnected strand that I watched fall to the floor added to my already mounting panic.

When she finished, the hairdresser spun me around to judge her handiwork. I couldn’t remember why I had been afraid. Aside from the length of my hair, I looked exactly the same. The opinions that had ruled my decisions for years felt childish.

Whether my hair is long or short, I’m still me.

My advice coming out of this is to not let others influence your decisions. On the contrary, support others in their changes — be it appearance or otherwise — without allowing your own personal biases to cloud your judgment.

Don’t fear change, embrace it.

Olivia Hupp is a senior studying English literature and creative writing. Email her at

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