Minimizing graduation anxiety for seniors

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Tasha Kibue

Graduation can be a bittersweet moment.

High school seniors will experience one or all of these emotions before graduation: relief/excitement OR anxiety/fear.

Relief because you’re about to start a new chapter in your life. You’re going to be an adult! You’ll meet new people, explore careers, and find your fitting in the world.

Right?

But what if that doesn’t happen? You may be wondering if you even want to go to college. And if you do, there’s a lot of pressure that comes into picking one. Considering all these things could be overwhelming. Here are some tips that will help you ease some of that graduation anxiety.

First off, allow yourself to be proud of what you’ve achieved so far. You’ve made your way through many years of schooling. You’ve passed even your most difficult classes, potentially made lifelong friends, discovered your identity or are in the process of discovering it. The same will be true for college, though it’s important that you set realistic goals for yourself. Just like high school, college is nothing like it is in movies. Setting realistic goals will prevent you from being disappointed if they don’t work out.

Being anxious about the unknown is normal, but work on taking everything one step at a time. If you don’t know what you want to do in college, you don’t have to start until you’re ready. Many people have taken time between high school and college to travel, work, and figure everything out. College will always be there whether you choose to do it later rather than sooner. Don’t stress about it! You have the rest of your life to figure out who you want to be. It’s better to give yourself time to discover who that is before committing yourself to a career you’re not passionate about.

You should also remember that the first two years of college are mostly dedicated to prerequisites. Prerequisites are courses or other requirements that a student must have taken prior to enrolling in a specific course or program. Depending on your career choice, the classes could be similar to the basic subjects you took in high school. You can spend those two years learning about different career paths, and figuring out which one you’d like to be a part of. So, don’t rule anything out! You may not want to be an engineer now, but that might change once you explore it.

Try talking to people who have been in college or are currently attending. This will give you a fresh perspective on the whole thing. You’ll realize that teachers and counselors have made college seem more complicated than it is in reality. This doesn’t mean that your counselor or teacher’s advice isn’t worth listening to though. It can just be overwhelming at times.

Keeping these things in mind will help the transition from high school to your future much smoother. Good luck!

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