How to deal with graduation anxiety

The spring semester is officially in full swing! And chances are, whether you're a high school senior choosing between colleges or a college senior figuring out what's up next for you, you're already thinking about the big day: graduation.

Getting ready to graduate and move on to a brand-new chapter is a super exciting milestone (goodbye, senioritis), but it can also bring up some feelings of anxiety and stress—which is totally normal.

If you can't even look at that cap and gown hanging in your closet, or you kinda cringe a little whenever your besties start talking about being apart next year, you've come to the right place! Read on for our go-to ways on how to cope with graduation anxiety.

Take things one day at a time

Let's face it—this is a busy time! And it can be *so* overwhelming to think of all of the things you have to do before walking that stage at graduation. Plus, the fear of the unknown def doesn't make it any easier. 

Our advice? Take things one day at a time. It's totally understandable to be fretting over the future, but now's the time to focus on what's in your immediate control. For example, if you're taking a few AP classes this year, and all of the exams fall on the week of graduation, work on creating a balanced study schedule. Or, if you just committed to a college and are worried about finding a roommate, join some groups for incoming freshmen on social media to connect with potential new pals at your school. Luckily, all of this change isn't going to suddenly happen overnight—so don't be afraid to take those small steps.

Don't compare yourself to others

With graduation approaching, it can be extra tough not to compare yourself to other people. Maybe your BFF got into her dream college and already knows that she wants to be pre-med, but you settled on an undecided major for now. Or your older brother landed a great job when he graduated college, but you haven't found the right job or internship for you yet.

Remember that no matter what other people's post-grad plans look like, it's OK to go at your own pace! After all, you're on your own unique journey, and as cliche as it might sound, the opportunities that are meant for you won't pass you by. Plus, not being 100% sure about what comes next just means that you'll have a little more time to explore and figure out where you want to be.

Prep for what comes next

OK, so maybe you *do* have an idea of what your future holds, but you're still feeling that fear. You're def not alone—but the awesome thing about graduating is that beyond the nerves, it's truly such an exciting time! Taylor Swift said it best: "Scary news is: You're on your own now. Cool news is: You're on your own now."

It might be scary to think about graduation, but you also have *so* much to look forward to, and there's no better time to start prepping for what's up ahead. Whether it's going shopping for your college dorm, deciding on the right graduate program or moving to a new city, there are tons of fab experiences for you to start getting ready for.

Have fun

Ofc, you've gotta finish the semester out strong, but it's just as important to make time to enjoy yourself—especially when it comes to spending some quality time with your friends and fam. So go to that Saturday-night sleepover with your besties, or host an impromptu movie night with your family.

Also, beyond spending time with the people you care about, don't forget to take some time for yourself, too! Whether it's ending a study sesh early and tuning into your fave show, or going for a run before starting your homework, it's also awesome to do your own thing sometimes.

Remember to celebrate yourself

Finally, it's key to be kind to yourself! Graduating is a huge accomplishment, and you've no doubt put in *tons* of hard work to get to this point. You deserve to celebrate yourself and be proud of everything you've achieved! It's easy to cheer on the people around you for all the amazing things they've done, but don't forget to show yourself that support, too. You're a star, girl—so we know that you'll totally shine as you walk the stage *and* in whatever you do next.

If your graduation anxiety is negatively impacting your mental health and interfering with your quality of life, don't be afraid to ask for help. Find some GL-approved resources right HERE and HERE

Do you graduate this semester? How are you feeling about it? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via Giphy


by Samara Smukler | 4/23/2023