Q. I'm a senior in high school and I can’t believe my high school days are almost over. I dread losing my high school friends. I know some of us will keep in touch but it will be different. I had lots of fun and free time in high school and I won’t have that any more. I also have no idea what I want to study in college. My friends say they’re worried but they seem more settled than I am. Are my feelings normal? What can I do to get over my graduation fears? (My Mom says I should be excited about graduating and trust God about my future.)
A. The graduation fears you’re experiencing are normal. Graduation from high school is a major transition point in life. Any major change may cause anxiety, and confusion and even depression in some young people. Often students are on edge when graduation is near. The expectation that they will now have to take on adult responsibilities is a scary reality. The student wonders can I make it in the “real world”?
It’s good you are aware of the losses this change will bring into your life. Many deny their feelings or pretend all is fine. Change will impact all graduates. Even if you keep in touch with close friends after high school, there will not be the daily contact school affords. It’s normal to feel sad or unsettled about the changes, especially the loss of close friends. Your uncertainty about your college major is also common. Many students are undecided about their major even after a year or two of college.
Talk about how you’re feeling with a parent or a close friend. This will give you another perspective on your issues. Talk with a student advisor at the college you will attend to help you decide what courses to take. In most colleges you do not need to declare a major immediately. Many students change majors or seek a job after college in an area not related to their major. Even if you choose a major that doesn’t work out, it won’t be the end of your life. Many employers will train employees on the job.
Have you thought of the positive side of the changes you face? Begin to think of college as a new and exciting adventure in your life. You may lose touch with some high school friends, but you will be meeting new people and making new friends in college. Though you will be busy and have to work hard, you will learn and grow from these new experiences.
Take one day at a time as you go through the final weeks of high school and the weeks that follow graduation. You can’t solve all of the issues facing you at once. Take time to have fun with your friends during your last weeks together.
There will be cause for celebration when you graduate, in spite of your feelings. You will have made it through high school - an achievement not everyone manages. You can feel pride and a sense of accomplishment in this. As your Mom said, be excited about graduating and trust God for your future.
Congratulations graduate! Commencement doesn’t mean the end, it means a new beginning!
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1