Coping with Graduation Anxiety

Coping with Graduation Anxiety

Alaya Holland, Reporter

Graduating high school is a big event in every student’s life. For the majority of people, they’ve grown up with their classmates for twelve years. We’ve created relationships with the people who we have seen and been around nearly every day we can remember. We have all gotten into the routine of waking up early for school four days a week, seven hours a day. Though routines are difficult to break, it just adds to the reasons for graduation anxiety.

For us seniors, we have been repeatedly asked the question, “What’s next?” For the majority of us, the answer is: “I’m not sure.”

Though graduating high school is often viewed as an exciting time, we don’t often talk about the anxiety that comes along with it. We are made to believe that once we leave school and enter into the “real world”, our paths need to be decided. That’s simply not the case. Uncertainty is a problem we all face, we will change our minds over and over until we decide what’s best for us and that’s okay.

The reality is that one’s graduation can be a time of great anxiety for parents as well as students. Even though this is a significant achievement, a combination of positive and negative feelings can make this happy time into a stressful one. It’s hard to believe that during this time of celebration, there are also feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and separation. However, it is.

All of us have some sort of graduation anxiety. I’ve asked some questions from this year’s class of 2023 seniors on what they’re most afraid of after graduating, and what they do to help themselves feel more prepared. In the hopes to show others that they are not alone in having anxiety about life after graduation.

“What are you most afraid of after graduating high school?”

  • “Not succeeding in my dreams” – Senior, Lily Courtway
  • “Leaving the place I grew up in”- Senior, Rylee McDonnel
  • “Going to college” – Senior, Miles Johnson
  • “Missing my friends”- “Senior, Shayne Vandergriff
  • Not being friends with the people I’m close to now” – Senior, Jayden Sisk
  • “Going to college and becoming an adult.”- Senior, Jessica Littrel 
  • “Failure In the Career that I’ve picked.” Senior, Katie Wader
  • “Not having anything to do” – Senior, Kasey Skaggs
  • “I’m afraid of getting through college alone, sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to do it. I hope that I’m making the right choices. The student loans, paying off all that debt from college, and probably trying to find a job.” – Senior, Autumn Sellers


“What do you do to help yourself feel more prepared for life after high school?”

  • “I tell myself that I won’t be gone too long and it’s all worth it in the end.”- Senior, Rylee McDonnel
  • “I take college classes now so I know how they are when I graduate.”- Senior, Lily Courtway
  • “Have a plan and know what I’m going to do after I graduate” – Senior, Jayden Sisk
  • “Work hard and prepare to start being alone.”- Senior, Jessica Littrel
  • “Talking to school counselors, signing up for scholarships, and preparing to sign up for college classes.” – Senior, Miles Johnson
  • “Doing my research” – Senior, Katie Wader
  • “I make sure to have a list or a plan of what I can do” -Senior, Kasey Skaggs
  • “I’m always asking questions and doing research. Of school, testing and questions. I’m currently knocking out a bunch of college classes now. I’m always seeking advice from teachers and other people that can help me, with college and my career choice” -Senior, Autumn Sellers

“What would you like to say to your fellow Seniors who are also experiencing anxiety after graduation?”

  • “Don’t overthink.” – Senior, Lily Courtway
  • “Chase your dreams and don’t let anything get in your way. If you do you’ll regret it.”- Senior, Rylee McDonnel
  • “Keep moving forward, life always has a way of turning out for the better.” – Senior, Shayne Vandergriff
  • “Try not to worry too much about after graduation, worrying will get you nowhere. Just go do what you want to and if it doesn’t work out try it again.” – Senior, Miles Johnson
  • “Don’t worry about it because you might not end up doing what you want to do, but you’ll wind up doing something you love “ -Senior, Jayden Sisk
  • “Don’t overthink it. Everything will be ok. There’s always a rainbow at the end of a storm.”- Senior, Jessica Littrel
  • “It’s okay to be scared, it’s just a mindset and it’ll pass.” -Senior, Kasey Skaggs
  • “I would say, use your resources as much as possible. Take what college classes you can now, it’s a lot easier. It’s okay if you get scared, and stressed. But remember this isn’t the end of the world and not the end of your journey. You have time to always change your career path and anything you do whether college or straight to a job is alright.” Senior, Autumn Sellers

High school graduation brings many changes. Some are exciting and positive while others can prove to be difficult. Struggling with anxiety during this time of transition is natural and temporary. You can take charge of your well-being and move forward with purpose and positivity. Remember that you are not alone and there are people who are experiencing the same anxieties as you are.