Written By: Michelle Barrett, Junior at The Ohio State University, FLI Program Participant

You have worked hard for 4 years, and as you prepare to walk the stage, a lot of responsibility still lies ahead. Graduating High school is an amazing accomplishment and shouldn’t be taken for granted. High school is a stepping stone that helps shape us into young adults. In a couple of years, you’ll be reflecting back on these little moments that could have been scary, fun, and stressful. Although graduating can be overwhelming, trust me when I say, this is only the beginning of adulthood, and you have a long journey ahead of you. Before you leave the world you once knew and finish strong with your head held high, here are a couple of tips that helped prepare me for a smooth graduation process. 

Make a checklist of goals

As you being to prepare for graduation, you should also prepare for the new changes ahead of you. Although seniors likely have plans for the future like college, it’s important that you research your next career path or what you want to accomplish next. Think about some short-term goals, like where you see yourself in a couple of months. Then think about long-term goals that you want to accomplish in a longer time frame, like where you see yourself in a couple of years. This is the best time to experiment and explore how we can achieve your next big accomplishment.

Finish Strong

You are almost finished! Senioritis is a real thing that can affect the best of us. By now you may be ready to graduate. You may have your college picked out or have an alternative plan and keeping your grades up can be challenging. But you didn’t work hard these last 4 years to give up right before the finish line. Be proud of the work you’ve done, all the early mornings, and late nights that prepared you for this. Finish the school year the same way you started. STRONG!

Complete college requirements

Don’t forget, before you finish your high school graduations, what requirements you need to fulfill to be enrolled in the next term semester if you are going to university. Also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA  https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa which can grant you scholarships, grants, and loans, depending on eligibility. I recommend you do this application with a parent/or guardian. When filling out the FAFSA application, it can be tricky and confusing, so if you need help, check out the FAFSA’s Q&A session or call the number listed on its website.

Order Cap and Gown

Usually, the high school requires each graduate to order their school cap and gown. Don’t wait until the last minute to order your cap and gown, since schools across the country are also preparing for graduation, you may have a hard time getting your order on time. If you believe it’s too late to order, ask your school if they have an extra gown or try renting one. If both of those plans fail, try asking high school alumni or amazon. 

Enjoy your last year

Most importantly consider everything you have learned over the last 12 years of schooling, from kindergarten to senior year. Think about everything you accomplished throughout each school. All the homework and exams, Saturday school, notes, after-school activities, lunches, lesson plans, group projects, book readings, and more, and you’re finally almost finished. Take this time to celebrate with your friends and families. Participate in senior skip day or senior brunch. This time only comes around once, and it could be a while before you back with your high school friends again since all of your lives will be changing. 

Congratulations to the upcoming class! Cherish these last moments, you deserve it. Take pictures, spend time with loved ones and walk that stage. Enjoy being a High School Graduate!

Come back to the Future Blog for more articles on college and career success!