6 Totally Normal Feelings to Have the Week Of College Graduation


The further I get from my college graduation year, the calmer I feel about the future. When I said farewell to the University of Arizona in spring 2010, I had too much on my mind to recognize how big a deal it is to earn a college degree. I was worried about finding a job, sad about my friends moving to other parts of the country, heartbroken over some guy, and embarrassed about my unemployment status, among other things. And you know what? I'm still here! 

I may have been full of emotions back then, but I got through graduation week mostly unscathed, and I wasn't the only one with a lot to think about. If you can't sleep at night because of your upcoming graduation, just recognize that it's totally normal to experience any of the emotions below, or whatever it is you're feeling.

1. Fear

You and the rest of your graduating class, my friend, including those who snagged jobs prior to graduation. You can (seemingly) have it all figured out and still fret. 

2. Sadness

Graduation is both exciting and emotional. You've accomplished something huge, but you also have to say goodbye to people who've supported you during a defining point in your life. You may be moving away from friends, forced to break up with a serious boyfriend/girlfriend, or, like me, just not ready to part with your awesome college life. Let yourself feel sad now so you won't be a mess much later on down the road. 

3. Jealousy

Especially towards those who have landed jobs, have at least one more year in school, or your professors, who never ever have to leave the college setting.

During graduation week and the months following my commencement ceremony, I remember stewing in my own envy as I saw Facebook status update after Facebook status update about this person's awesome new gig or totes adorbs engagement pictures. Jealousy is common, especially in a culture that pits young people against each other so much, but don't let it determine every move you make from here on out. Be bitter toward your classmate who gets to move across the country to work at a book publishing company right out of college, but by all means, get off the couch and apply for work too if that's what you want for yourself. 

4. Anxiousness (or regret) about how you spent your time in school

I don't know about you, but I finished school wondering whether I'd made some grave mistakes during my time as a student. Freshman year, I lived in a dorm that was a terrible fit for my personality type. At some point, I dated someone who was wonderful but holding me back from making friends and fully experiencing college the way I wanted. I tried to make up for my "poor" life decisions by making the most of senior year, but at the end of the day, you can't change history, so even if you regret some of the things you did (or didn't) do in college, don't lose too much sleep over the past.

5. The need to do something crazy

Think Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate. This is your last week to live like an undergrad. Don't let that pass you by.

6. Excitement

Because DUH you're finally done with school!