If you’re one of the three million high school students set to graduate this month, you’re certainly not alone at this important juncture of your life. But graduation, and preparing for life beyond high school, is a major transition even if you are in good company. Whether you’re feeling excited, nervous, scared, or some combination of all three, these tips can keep you sane during the next few hectic months.
Embrace the unexpected. Some people are excited to head off to college, while others dread it. Most fall somewhere in between. But no matter how you’re feeling, embrace the idea that things probably won’t go completely as expected. This is not necessarily a bad thing! Roll with it.
Keep in touch with old friends. Staying in touch will help to ease the transition to this new phase of your life, especially if you’re all headed in separate directions.
But, don’t let the past hold you back. If some of your high school crew will be attending the same college, resist the urge to cling too tightly to familiarity. Hopefully you’ll remain lifelong friends, but college is also the perfect time to meet new people. Set a goal to make a few new friends during the first week of classes.
Stay close to parents or mentors. A strong support network is linked to greater success in college, so stay close to your parents. If you don’t have the closest relationship, maintain contact with a former teacher, aunt, uncle, friend, or some other adult who has served as a consistent support network. You might be miles apart, but support is only a text, email, or phone call away.
But ask for space when you need it. If you feel that your parents are “hovering” a bit too much, respectfully remind them that they got you this far. They’ve done a great job, and now it’s time to trust that you can succeed on your own. Reassure them that you will definitely ask for help if you need it.
Don’t be shy with instructors. Make a point to speak to each professor or teaching assistant at some point during the first week of classes. Ask a question in class, or drop by their office during office hours. With practice, forming relationships with professors gets easier. And this is definitely a habit you want to establish right away.
Now take a deep breath, congratulate yourself on a job well done, and remember to have fun! You’ve earned it.