Graduation is an exciting yet tumultuous time in our lives. Whether you’re graduating from college, an online course, or know someone graduating from high school, it can be a stressful time for all those involved.
There is often a lot riding on graduation. You want the right grades, the right outcome, so that your hard work can pay off and you can look towards the future.
But, sometimes, graduation can be a source of anxiety, too. Let’s dive into why graduation and the notion of graduating can cause anxiety, and what you can do to cope.
Why Does Graduation Give Us Anxiety?
The thought of graduating can give you anxiety for a number of reasons. For instance, when you get used to a certain educational setting, it can make you feel safe, and if you’re graduating and hoping to join the working world, then this can be unsettling and unnerving.
You may be nervous about leaving behind all the things you know, or all of the people and places that you know. This is the same for graduating from high school and heading off to college. It can be worrisome to leave behind the friendships and people you’ve known your whole life growing up, and find a new home, new city, and new educational opportunities.
This anxiety can also be referred to as transition nerves. Despite graduation being a positive thing, it can make you worry excessively and fearful of the unknown, along with the upcoming changes in your life.
Graduation mainly gives you anxiety because you are ending one chapter in your life and starting another. You may also be struggling with anxiety due to graduation fears because you are unsure of your identity and who you are. This is a big change in your life, and something you’ve likely worked towards for years, so you may be left wondering what is next for you.
This feeling of the ‘unknown’ is outside of our comfort zones, which is why you may feel anxious, nervous, or stressed.
The good news is that the majority of people feel this way from time to time, and more graduates feel anxious about it than you may realize. It’s a tough transition, and one that you shouldn’t take lightly, so it makes sense that most would feel nervous about the change.
Ways to Cope with Graduation Anxiety
Graduation anxiety is a real struggle, so you should treat this just as you would other forms of anxiety. It is best to speak to a counselor or therapist for guidance and support.
You also need to stay connected to your friends, family and classmates. This will help you feel less alone or isolated during this transition. It is also important to speak to these people for support.
However, it is also important that you try to form new friendships and connections as you enter a new stage in your life. If you’re starting a job, then try to socialize with work colleagues during breaks, or offer to meet up outside of work for coffee, or food to get to know everyone.
As difficult as it sounds, you should try to maintain your usual interests for a sense of comfort, but also try new things. Look at new opportunities, new places to explore, and new hobbies to focus on.
You can also calm anxiety by practicing mindfulness. This can help you stay in the moment and not lose focus or become overwhelmed. Mindfulness can also help you embrace the good things, such as your achievement in graduating rather than making it a bad thing.
Finally, think about where you’re going. It can help you stop worrying by creating a plan of action, whether that is searching for jobs, or adding to your resume to progress your career and move forward.