Its spring and that means around the country young adults will be graduating from high school, college or graduate school. As a graduate you are filled with mixed feelings. You look back over your accomplishments, know you "have made it" to the end, realize you have achieved your goal. Even so, you are nervous and scared. You aren't sure what the future holds for you and aren't sure if you are prepared for whatever may come.
Transitions and Anxiety
If you are looking toward your graduation with fear and anxiety, you are not alone. This is a transitional time in your life and transitions are stressful. Life ahead is uncertain and unknown. As you went through your high school or college years, you knew what to expect. At the beginning of each semester your goal was simply to make it through your classes. Each semester brought a sense of relief and a feeling of accomplishment. As a senior, you are at the top. You are the "senior," the one who has gone through the tough times and have made it to the end of the road. But now you are faced with a brand new road, one you are unfamiliar with. You are again the "new kid" and are at the bottom of ladder.
Transitions are always tough and stressful but focusing on the positive, remembering the goals you achieved and congratulating yourself on your accomplishments helps. Accept that new situations and this new stage in your life can be scary but you have made it through all the different stages so far and you can make it through this one as well.
Losing Your Safety Net
Over the past years, you knew exactly what to do and why you were doing it. While you created your overall goal - what you want to do with your life - teachers, professors and parents helped to shape your behavior. You had midterms, finals, papers and reports to complete. You were given guidelines and deadlines and you just needed to fill in the blanks, follow the directions and complete the work. Now you are facing a different type of life, one where the safety net of having others help shape your actions and you are going to be on your own.
In reality, you probably haven't lost your safety net. Your parents, relatives and friends are still there to support you, just in a less direct way. While you will be expected to take more responsibility for your daily life and your goals, the support system you have around you isn't going to disappear. Keep in mind that parents, teachers, professors and other relatives have all gone through this before and can give you advice and support as you begin your journey outside of high school or college.
Finding a Direction
During high school and college your goal was clear: to graduate. How wonderful that you have made it! Congratulations on your accomplishment! Now it is time to find a new goal in life. Your new goal may be to get your masters degree or to get a job in your field of study. Some of the stress you feel may be from not having a clear direction or goal in mind. Not having a goal can make you feel as if you are floating along.