A lot of changes happen as you leave and enter into different seasons of your life. Some of the most impactful changes of your life occur when you graduate high school and college. Maybe some of your friends are going in different directions than you and it feels strange. Perhaps, thinking about leaving the place and people you’ve known for the last four years leaves you feeling emotional or unsure of what’s to come. You might be in a place where you can’t wait to graduate and wish it were happening tomorrow. Whatever the case may be for you, here are some helpful tips that I wish I knew before graduation.
Enjoy the moment. My senior year of both high school and college, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what life would be like once I graduated. I would often think, “all would be right in the world if I could just graduate and move on to the next step in life.” You’ll find yourself having this thought during many transitions of your life, but it may not always be a helpful mindset. We will certainly experience times where we do feel ready for the next adventure in life, but remember to enjoy the present moment. High school and college only happen once, so be sure to soak in every moment, because one day you may look back and wish you had. Attend all the sporting events, spend time with your friends, go to your favorite hangout spots. Enjoy the moment.
Reflect. I learned some of the best and the hardest lessons that life has to teach in high school and college. I made good and not so good choices. I built and grew friendships that I still have to this day. There are memories I have that will never fade. I grew as a person through all of the challenges, hardships, and battles. It might be helpful to reflect on your time at school and take time to think about experiences you’ve had, friends you’ve made, and lessons learned. Writing this down in a journal or making a scrapbook will give you a resource to look back on in the years to come. You’ll see just how far you have come and grown since the days of being in school.
The best is yet to come. For you, graduating may leave you feeling uncertain. You had the best time of your life during school and leaving it behind for the unknown that lies ahead may feel a tad overwhelming. That’s okay. The future is always mysterious to some degree. But with every new chapter or season in life is a chance for a new challenge to achieve, a new adventure to explore, and a new beginning to start. As good as life may feel right now, remember that the best is yet to come. Your best memories have yet to be made, so keep moving forward and make them.
Graduation can be exciting for some and a little scary for others. Whichever boat you’re in, remember to enjoy the moment because it will fly by. Reflect on what you have learned and the friendships and memories you have made. And whether your future is planned out in detail or not, remember that the best is yet to come.
By Austin Shugart, Ph.D, LPC