A few hundred students this week are stumbling around with little to no sleep and the weight of their future on their shoulders. It’s easy to pick out the seniors from the crowd this week as graduation swiftly approaches.
Graduating used to be fun, when moving from the second to the third grade meant an end-of-the-year party with cupcakes and a certificate for being the best at math or history or spelling.
Now it means hard goodbyes, planning for the future and moving out of your house. As fellow students who have spoken to people post-graduation and as students who are graduating ourselves, we offer some tips to make this hectic time a little easier and healthier.
1. Divide and conquer
You have a lot of goodbyes to say, some harder than others. Don’t overwhelm yourself by expecting to say personal, heartfelt goodbyes to everyone you’ve ever meet. That kid who you ran the three-legged race with during Welcome Week? Yeah, it’s OK to leave some people without any ceremony. But the hard goodbyes? Spread those out so as not to turn yourself into an emotional time bomb, ready to go off at any moment.
2. Be a teacher’s pet
Don’t forget to recognize those professors who have influenced you throughout college. You might assume they know how much they’ve helped you, but that’s just an assumption. Take time to write them a thank you note or to visit them to let them understand how much you appreciate their mentorship. The knowledge that they’ve changed someone’s life is invaluable – and they don’t exactly get paid the big bucks.
3. Avoid a family feud
Things can get messy if your family visits you full of expectations. Before they can plan every meal and every sight-seeing adventure with you, let them know how busy you’ll be when they get here to celebrate your graduation. Be very candid with them about the amount of time you can spend with them. You don’t want them to feel neglected when you go to a friend’s graduation party and not to dinner with them.
4. And remember to enjoy
It might feel selfish, but this time is to celebrate you and your accomplishment, and it’s definitely something worth celebrating. So don’t go to parties or events you don’t want to. Don’t become overwhelmed with packing. Don’t overcommit. Enjoy time with the people you’ll really miss. Make time to do cheesy, ACU-specific things like eat an omelette from Annie, throw fruit at the library (though we’re not condoning that) or walk around the Lunsford Trail one last time. Soak it up, and then get excited about your future.