What’s It like to Graduate High School

Graduation represents the culmination of a journey and the attainment of a goal. It is an exciting period in a person’s life and an array of feelings will surface for the graduate. Most people think of graduation as an exciting and wonderful marketing event, many fail to recognize the other emotions evoked by this transition time. Graduation not only can bring up feelings of excitement, pride, and anticipation, but also feelings of loss, discouragement, and fear. Feelings of loss are commonly felt by students as they face a multitude of changes in their lives. One would not expect to feel sad during a time typically thought of as a joyful period in one’s life. However, as students approach this transition time, they are often leaving behind friends and the familitairy of campus life. It is not surprising then that as students graduate, they often experience intense grief and loss. As graduation day approaches, students are faced with an array of decisions. It is not uncommon for students to not only question their future path, but also to ponder on the past years spent in the high school . Sometimes people wonder if they chose the “right major” and a field that best suits their interests. In addition, students grapple with the “where do I have to live?”, “Should I attend graduation school?”, and “how will I be able to start paying my loans?” In thinking over one’s past and planning for the future, feelings of discouragement and even despair may surface. 
Graduation marks the ending  of a structured period in one’s life. During the past four plus years, students experienced some certainly in their lives, and routines were often established. It is not surprising that when students leave behind this structured time period, they feel fearful when faced with an ambiguous and uncertain future. In sum, graduation can be a stressful period in one’s life. Whenever change occurs, even change is viewed as positive, people typically experience stress. In addition, people in the graduation life often convey the expectation that the graduation should feel exciting and joyful. The graduation often does not receive the message that a whole spectrum of feelings may surface prior to, on, and often after graduation. How can one cope with the overwhelming feelings that are invoked by graduation? First, it is important to expect that emotions will come up – not all of these will be feelings of happiness! Second, express your feelings to someone else. Talk to a friend, a parent, a sibling, or someone in your life who can hear how you are feeling. Lastly, remind yourself of your accomplishments and try not to minimize the goals you have reached for yourself! Reflecting on the past few years, you remember more good than bad. Your experiences were fun, exciting, and full of adventure. You might even wish you could go back and relive those memories. As annoying as life  was at times, you know you will miss high school. You probably feel at least slightly nostalgic.Reflecting on the past few years, you remember more good than bad.

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