Class of 2013 – Beat Graduation Blues

You’ve been waiting to get out of high school or college since you started. Now, whether you hit the books and have a perfect 4.0 or pulled it off by the skin of your teeth, you’re graduating. Congratulations.

However, you might be feeling more than a little anxious — leaving old friends, moving to a new location and finding a position in today’s less-than-desirable job market.

Post-graduation blues are common among new graduates.

“Being anxious and having these feelings is normal and common during times of change,” says Dr. Asim Shah, chief, Psychiatry, Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. “Parents may even feel anxious for their children too – I know I do.”

After years of knowing what was coming next —a class, a test — now uncertainty looms, but there are ways to prepare for the transition, according to Shah.

“What you do with your anxiety is key,” Shah, also associate professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, says. “Use your anxiety as a driving force to get things done.”

Prepare for the upcoming change. If you’re graduating from high school and don’t get into the college of your choice, you should know that several colleges that will accept you. If you’re looking for a job, take courses that may give you an edge over other potential candidates, update your resume.

Shah recommends making a plan of action and setting realistic expectations.

“While it’s hard for some, don’t get disappointed,” he says. “It’s good to worry. But take that worry and make a plan and more importantly, plan early.”