The Emotional Range Of Graduations

If you are about to graduate for the first time I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it is going to be an emotional time.  However, beyond the expected emotions of this type of event, it can often throw up some unexpected and difficult feelings too.

First off, let me say congratulations!!  You’ve done an amazing thing by making it to graduation, especially in the climate of the past few years.  No matter the classification you earned, you have done yourself proud.  As much as you can, enjoy the moment.

Unexpected expectations

Now for the real talk.  Something that I wasn’t expecting to deal with during my graduation recently was a load of negative emotions.  I’m almost certain that a lot of you reading this won’t be expecting them either, but learn from my experience and be prepared.

I didn’t put a lot of weight into my graduation ceremony, it is after all, mostly just a big party.  I already had my classification, even had my certificate. The ceremony was all for show.  Even so, the night before, I felt a sudden urge to completely run away from what was going to happen.  All of the poor coping mechanisms I have perfected were knocking at the door.  It was like I couldn’t handle what was coming. I couldn’t handle an acknowledgement that I had done something worth celebrating.

I did manage to not give in to the coping mechanisms that I’ve fallen back on so many times in my life, largely through the support of the people I love who were there to celebrate with me.  So I guess that would be my main piece of advice to you in celebrating your graduation.  Whether or not you are concerned about feeling strong negative and positive emotions, make sure you are surrounded by people who love you. The people who support you, and truly have your best interests at heart will be the most reassuring.

The truth is, if you can make it through a degree during a pandemic, you can make it through your graduation.  Just be prepared for it to throw the unexpected at you.  And remember, there is nothing you cannot do.  The world is your oyster. Take everything you have learned in the classroom and in life and kick some ass in any way you can!

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