Christian Counselor Seattle
Graduation. Summer. Independence. They are all in the near future for high school seniors as they approach the “lasts” of high school. After 13 years of going to school from kindergarten through high school, college is here and the idea of adulthood is on the horizon. Whether you are staying in state or going out of state for college, things are about to change.
Mixed Emotions as You Graduate and Move On
It’s exciting being a senior and finishing up high school. It can also be bittersweet as there are many “lasts” such as the last game, last dance, last lunch with friends, last classes, and the last play or performance. Things have a sense of finality as you close this chapter of your life. It may be helpful to acknowledge each of these lasts as they are a reminder of the change that is happening. How can you appreciate each day for what it is? It is important to be aware of the mixed feelings and that it is a normal part of the process. Most seniors are probably feeling nervous and excited and your feelings may fluctuate throughout each day. It’s good to be aware of how this upcoming life change is impacting you.
In addition to feeling nervous and excited, you may also feel an unexpected sadness. Our culture tends to focus on the excitement of graduation and the joy of moving forward. While you will likely want to celebrate your accomplishments, you may also find yourself grieving the loss of high school. You may have spent the last 13 years with the same classmates, every day, and that is about to change. Your life as a child living with your parents and attending the local school is about to change—and with it, your sense of identity may be changing, too.
From Saying Goodbye to Preparing for College
After high school graduation, you may experience a transition from the hype of graduation to the down time of summer. Friends may be getting internships or packing in preparation for moving away. The idea of “lasts” may continue throughout the summer as you say goodbye to friends. There are several things you can do over the summer to help prepare yourself.
Remember Your Strengths
There may be anxiety about the unknown of college and what the next year will hold. When those thoughts come, it may be helpful to remind yourself that you have successfully transitioned in the past. You moved from elementary school to middle school/junior high and then to high school. While this is a bigger transition, you have been able to move to the next level of education in the past. Talk to your friends about your concerns regarding college. They probably have similar concerns but often people don’t feel comfortable sharing their struggles until they know that someone else is going through something similar.
Choose Friends You Will Stay in Touch With
As much as you may want to stay in touch with all of your high school friends right now, once you get to college it will be harder as you each have different places you are living and things you are focusing on. It’s helpful to decide now on a couple of people that you will be intentional about keeping in touch with. After you have decided on those friends, let them know that you are going to be intentional and make a plan with them for how you will keep in touch. Thanks to technology there are many ways to keep in touch with your friends such as texting, facetime and facebook.
Discuss Plans to Keep in Touch with Family
Talk to your parents about your contact with them. How often do you want to talk to them? What is the best form of communication? It could be phone calls, texts, e-mails, skype or facetime, letters, or care packages. If you are going out of state, it may be helpful to have a regular phone date scheduled with your parents so that you know when you will check in with them.
Write your thoughts in a journal. This can be a great way to identify the reoccurring thoughts you are having about college. Often being able to write about concerns helps to lessen them. Topics to write about could include your hopes for college, what you want to major in, and what you think college life will be like. In a year from now, when you read these journal entries, you will have grown so much – you can look back and reflect on the ways that you have changed.
Christian Counseling for the “Lasts” of High School
With the help of a Christian counselor, you can process your concerns and determine strategies to help you feel confident about college. Starting college is a big transition and having a support network established is helpful in your transition.
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