Coping with the Stress of Graduating


Graduation is fast approaching for both high schoolers and college students, and this means change is on the horizon. Change can be a stressful experience for many people, even if the change is viewed as positive. The experience of graduating from high school or college can evoke a variety of both positive and negative emotions including excitement, nervousness, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. If you are feeling any negative emotions associated with the change of graduating, here are some ways of coping.

Talk to People Who Understand

Feelings of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty can make people feel like they are alone. One of the best ways of overcoming these emotions is by relating to others who understand them. Talking with your friends who are also graduating can normalize the negative emotions you are experiencing. In addition to validating and normalizing your feelings, your friends may be able to suggest coping skills they have found helpful in preparing for the change of graduation.

Stay on Top of Your Responsibilities

One thing that can really throw a wrench in your plans to graduate is not staying on top of your responsibilities. Failing a class, missing a tuition payment, or skipping school can all lead to serious consequences, like failing to graduate. If your fears, uncertainties, and anxieties are getting in the way of your ability to focus on your schoolwork, stay organized, and feel motivated to go to class, it’s time to implement some coping skills. Utilizing an agenda to keep track of assignments, setting reminders for tuition payments and appointments, and asking friends to hold you accountable with your attendance are all ways of helping you stay on top of your responsibilities.

See a Therapist

Working with a therapist is an incredibly useful way of dealing with change. Therapists can help you examine and identify all of the emotions that are associated with your upcoming change. After helping you identify the myriad of emotions that surround your graduation from high school or college, your therapist will then suggest coping skills that will address each of these emotions. He or she can also point out resources that will make your transition to college or your first professional job more seamless.

Graduation is a change that can evoke mixed emotions. You have the ability to address and limit some of the negative emotions associated with this change, like stress, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, by staying on top of your responsibilities, talking with friends who can relate, and seeing a therapist are all ways of addressing and reducing the scary aspects of graduating from school. If you are looking for a therapist to talk to about your transition contact The Light Program.