The build-up to high school graduation should be a time of great excitement. You’ve made it to the end of a major chapter, and you deserve to celebrate, but at the same time, the next stage of life is coming at you fast. As high school comes to an end, you’ll have a few new challenges to contend with, and plenty of lessons you can’t learn in a classroom.
There’s no escaping it – finishing high school changes pretty much everything about your life, and the loss of a well-worn routine can be scary. Feeling resistant to change is natural, and although there’s no escaping it, you can prepare for it. Start by finding out as much as possible about what’s ahead and how you can put yourself in the best possible position to manage it. You’ll be surprised how much something simple like updating your resume or organising a planner for your uni schedule can boost your mental state.
Freedom probably sounds like a great thing, and it can be, but it can also come as a rude shock when you’ve spent most of your life being directed and pushed through the system by those around you. Procrastination is one of your biggest obstacles in this new environment, and it will destroy your chances of success if you let it. Self-discipline is always a work in progress, but making a strong start is as simple as organising your study schedule. A sturdy commitment to your wall planner will keep you a few steps ahead.
New Social Circles
High school is the puddle to university’s pond, or the ocean of the working world. and you’ll probably feel like a guppy when you first arrive. The good news is that there are hundreds of people around you riding the same wave. We’re all strangers at first, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation – it will be great practice for each one of your new classes or team meetings. Ultimately, your social experience in further study or the working world will depend on your attitude, and a positive outlook is far more likely to help you find a great group of study or work mates.
Good news: nine times out of ten, leaving high school means you can escape that school subject you didn’t enjoy. Sounds great, right? The downside is that becoming an adult comes with a host of brand new, often tougher lessons and decisions, with consequences to boot. Suddenly, a strong character will be a defining factor in your success, and while a foundation of effective study skills will prove very useful, you’ll have the opportunity to decide what, when, and how you learn. As you transition into adulthood, you’ll also have a whole host of lessons to learn about life, from planning your career trajectory to doing your own tax return. Before long, you’ll discover just how much is left to learn beyond the classroom walls.
Whatever your post-high school plans, expect the pressure to rise after graduation. University comes with all of the stresses of completing assessment and work experience, while holding down a regular job and narrowly resisting the urge to spend all of your savings on Mexican food. Meanwhile, making a beeline for the 9-to-5 corporate world leads to the pressure of keeping up with a brand new workload and trying to squeeze in a social life around a new lifestyle. New pressures and stresses are inevitable, but there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you’re managing them in the best way possible.
Look After Yourself
Maintaining a healthy body and mindset makes all the difference when the workload gets heavier. Fight the urge to hole up in your bedroom in the days leading up to an exam or an important project at work – otherwise, you’ll run the risk of burning out. Instead, do your best to keep up your regular activities, make time to see your friends, and block out at least eight hours for sleep every night. There is true power in a power nap, if you use it wisely.
It’s no secret that setting SMART goals is key to achieving great results, in school and in life. Even if you know the power of a well-considered goal, it’s what you do with it that counts. Research has proven that goals are far more likely to be achieved when written down, so don’t leave your potential between your ears. Putting your aspirations down on paper makes you accountable for your actions, and it can also be a great motivator when you need a reminder of what you’re working for.
Utilise Your Support Network
No one makes it through a challenge like high school alone, and if you’re lucky, the supports you called on during the tough times will still be around after you graduate. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents, high school friends, or even past teachers for the advice and support you need as you navigate the path into the future. Post-graduation is also the perfect time to start building new networks, so don’t waste an opportunity to meet someone new. The next person you bump into on campus or in the office could be the one to offer you the right advice, mentorship, or even a job. Every person you meet has the potential to be a great teacher, whether you realise it at the time or not.
Once you’ve mastered the ebb and flow of adult life, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the perks of becoming a more independent person, and there’s a lot to love. It’s not only about escaping the perils of Pythagoras or the struggles of Shakespeare, but also about having the chance to map out your own journey through life.
While you’re part of the schooling system, it might feel all-consuming, but there’s a far more expansive world waiting for you on the other side. You’ll have the chance to explore avenues you may not have even considered, stretching your capabilities to new heights in the process, and as you do, you’ll discover new parts of yourself. Opportunities are everywhere if you’re willing to seek them out, and your education will make all the difference when the time comes to reach for what you want.
Like many young adults in the making, you’ve probably been waiting for the opportunity to break out and do your own thing since the training wheels came off, and graduation is that chance. After high school, you’ll be able to make your own choices, choose your company, and ultimately decide who you want to be. Once you get over the initial shock of change and new-found freedom, you might just find
One of the great things about a new situation is that it forces you to improvise, adapt, and overcome new challenges. It will probably feel uncomfortable at first, but the best way out is usually straight through. When you develop your thought processes for handling adversity and change, and turn those processes into habits, you’ll find yourself growing into a more capable, confident person – character traits which will serve you well into adulthood.
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