How To Deal With Leaving High School (The Ultimate Survival Guide)

Holly Cunningham High School

High school is a safe place. Everything is laid out before you and teachers look out for you. School can be a second home for many people. But this inevitably must come to an end. Leaving school must be seen as a positive, new beginning. This is how I coped with leaving school.

How do I cope with leaving school? In order to achieve the best possible outcome try to put the following into motion:

  1. Focus on final exams
  2. Have a plan
  3. Keep busy
  4. Talk to people that have been through it
  5. Share your anxiety

Recently, I left school and completed my final exams. I am now patiently waiting on the results of these exams. Leaving school was difficult for me and I found trying to cope quite hard. After being in this safe, familiar space for 5 years, I suddenly had to leave. I overcame this by doing the following.

focus on final exams

You’re about to leave school but first things first, you must complete your final exams. They will no doubt be stressful but we must look on them in a positive light, that a new chapter in your life is about to begin. They also will take your mind off the fact that you are coming to the end of your high school years.

We have to ask why are you so anxious about leaving school? School is seen as somewhere safe. Your classmates have been with you for quite some time, possibly since kindergarten.

When the end of high school comes, some you will never see again and even those that are in your closest circle will drift away as you choose your different paths in life.

What lies ahead is all new, and yes a little scary but when one door closes, another opens and the next chapter is all about becoming an adult and becoming independent. And in anyone's eyes, yes that quite daunting.

To distract you from these anxious thoughts, throw yourself into your studies. Give it your best shot. By setting up and sticking to a good study plan, this will take your mind off leaving school.

have a plan

Every aspect of your academic journey needs a plan. In order to give yourself the most amount of options the best plan is to study hard. Organise your study plan and stick to it. But you also need to look after the bigger picture.

Do you know what you want to pursue after high school? Are you planning on going to college? Are you going to try to get a job? If SATs haven’t gone as well as you imagined, are you going to try a different route?

These are all questions that need to be asked and answered. None of this just happens by accident. You must be fully prepared for your exams and what is to follow.

keep busy

If you are studying hard then the time for worrying about leaving high school should diminish. By being involved in clubs and sports this should also help.

If you know what college you are hoping to attend, check out what clubs and societies they have so you can continue whatever sport// hobby you’re involved with.

This is a great way of making new friends and will also make the transition a little easier knowing you’re going to be around like minded people.

Try and have some mindfulness ‘me’ days. This will make you calmer and relaxed and more able to cope with the high stress days.

talk to people

A problem shared is a problem halved... Talk to as many people as possible about the anxiety you may be feeling. Parents/Guardians, older siblings, guidance counsellors, teachers, all of these people have your best interests at heart and want to help and if they can’t they will find someone who can.

Try and talk to someone who finished High School last year. See if they were having the same thoughts, and if they were, how did they get through it? Once someone discusses a situation with you it possibly won’t seem as frightening. Counsellors are there to steer you in the right direction.

They are trained to alleviate the fear associated with leaving High School. They will possibly give you some coping mechanisms, meditation or counting.

Don’t rule out chatting with your friends, many will laugh it off, “Oh, I can’t wait to be done with this place!” but the reality is that everyone is feeling anxious to a certain extent and by realising you’re not the only one in your year or peer group that’s afraid of the unknown, makes it somewhat less so.

becoming familiar

If possible try and visit where you plan to be next semester. Try and visit dorms and lecture halls. Suddenly it’s not the unknown, it’s familiar and come the time for you to begin, your new chapter is not so daunting.

Perhaps take a tour of the campus and surrounding town. Chat to students that are already there, especially ones that are studying your preferred course. Campuses generally have student ambassadors who are more than willing to answer any questions/ queries you may have.

No matter how small you think your question is, don’t be afraid to ask it. The more prepared you are for leaving High School, the easier it will be.

My days in High School were fantastic. I didn’t want it to come to an end, but alas it had to. The friendships I had were strong but we will have to see will they last when we go our separate ways.

No one in my year has chosen the same college as me, so my next greatest challenge is making new friends. When you’re little, making friends in the schoolyard is easy but as we get older, putting yourself out there is more difficult. However, everyone starting this new chapter with me is in the same boat.

If we’re doing the same course, well then, we all have at least one thing in common, right?

I found that by focussing on my final exams, this completely took my mind off leaving school. I am now ready for the next stage of my life. I know that there are plenty of people to support me and answer any questions I might have. 

Don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings and emotions. It’s okay not to be Ok! Chances are someone is feeling the exact same way as you!

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Student and Writer at Tweentotwenty | Website

Holly Cunningham is a college student. She is studying a Bioscience degree.
She has a great work ethic and very driven and self motivated.
I hope that some of my insights in to study and college life will help with any issues you might have.