When I graduated high school, there wasn’t a lot of time to process exactly what was happening. There were too many people patting me on the back, saying they were proud of me, and asking me what was next. While I was focused on making sure my cap and gown were ready, I put off thinking about whether I was ready for life after high school.
Turns out, I wasn’t.
I spent some time reflecting on my last few years and wanted to share some thoughts that helped me transition out of high school:
1) You’re going to experience change
High school graduation is one of those significant moments in life; I even remember when I was ordering graduation invites, the seller said, “Everyone sends formal announcements for four things in life: births, marriages, deaths, and graduations.” Graduating is more than just a symbol of maturity and adulthood: it’s a transition into them.
You’ve probably been going to school from 8am to 3pm every weekday (roughly) for the past twelve years. That’s going to change, and you can expect other parts of your life to change, too. Change isn’t necessarily good or bad, but how you react to it makes a difference.
2) You might not know your life plan yet
I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know what I wanted to study. It seemed like all my friends graduating with me knew what they were going to study or had a job lined up already, but I wish I could go back and ask them whether their lives match the plan they had. Hold your life plans with open hands for God to work with.
If you don’t have much direction, ask God and He will give it to you. Always watch for God’s work in your life as it may not be what you expect.
3) Your decisions aren’t as important as you think
I remember putting pressure on myself to “find” or “discover” God’s plan for me, and I was terrified! What happens if I mess up what God wants me to do? What if I miss His will for my life?
Let me paint a familiar image of God as our Father. Would a loving father lay out only one right path and leave his child to try to figure out what they’re supposed to do? Of course not!
Instead, I like to think of God standing beside me, asking me what I want to do. He’s not going to let you go anywhere by yourself, and if you’re in constant relationship with Him, you’re already living out His will for your life.
4) You can do what is best for YOU, not for others
This one’s tricky, especially in church world where we’re taught to be selfless. Yes, Jesus says loving God and loving others are the most important commandments, but what I’ve found is I have a hard time loving God or loving others if I don’t take care of myself (hence the “as yourself” part).
Take some time to learn what helps you recharge and gives you the energy to live out God’s Kingdom calling for you: to love God and others.
5) You’re going to be okay
With so many things happening at once, it’s easy to be intimidated, excited, or feeling any other emotions about what this next stage of life holds. Remember that you aren’t alone! You are going to meet a lot of people, wherever you go and whatever you do, and it’s okay to feel however you do.
Don’t ignore what’s happening in your life; you can do this. God’s got you.