Whether it is high school or college, graduating is an accomplishment worth celebrating!. Let’s get those things your New Graduate is Desperate to Hear.
But it is also a time of uncertainty for new grads. It may seem like they have jumped a hurdle straight into adulthood, but really, they still need your support!
So while you are stocking up on balloons, finding a gift, gathering pictures for your commemorative video diary, and ordering that perfect cake, take some time to offer encouragement to your new graduate.
Here are five ideas that keep your new graduate at the center of those post-graduation conversations.
1 | I have seen you work so hard for this, and you deserve it.
It’s easy for long-graduated adults to forget the toil that comes with earning a diploma. Once we are hit with the “real world,” we sometimes view getting a degree as something that is just expected of the younger generation, rather than something they put time and effort into.
Your graduate wants to know that their hard work did not go unnoticed. So tell them!
2 | You do not have to have everything figured out right away.
Do you remember the pressure of being expected to have your next steps all mapped out? I imagine you do, and I also suspect you did not like it! Adults are usually nervous for their new grads and want to hear that they have a plan to bring themselves success and happiness.
The problem is, the grads are nervous, too, and that expectation adds a whole new layer of pressure. Try not to add to it by expecting them to have their ideas for the future set in stone just yet.
3 | Ask questions instead of offering unsolicited advice.
We adults know it all, don’t we? Seriously though, I know you have got years of wisdom stored up and are ready to bestow it on the younger generation. But unasked for advice given during a season of nerves and anticipation may be ignored. Instead of spontaneously offering up your advice, ask your new grads questions.
Something as simple as, “What are you wondering about this next phase of life?” or “Is there anything I can help you with?” will help you target their real concerns. And do not be surprised if they say nothing at first but show up days later with a list! Be gracious and help them as you can.
4 | It’s normal to feel excited and scared at the same time.
Graduation is a significant threshold in life, representing a transition from childhood to adulthood. For new graduates, that transition is equal parts exciting and terrifying—and which one they feel often changes from minute to minute!
Your new grad may feel confused at their conflicting emotions. Let them know the experience is normal and not limited to graduation. New jobs, parenthood, moving, and many other life milestones will evoke the same dichotomy of feelings. They are not alone!
5 | You always have a place with us.
The world is scary, and new grads often feel that keenly. They are usually unsure of their future but feel like they shouldn’t be. This can make the idea of stepping out on their own feel difficult or plain impossible!
Since nothing in life is guaranteed, make sure your new graduate knows they have a fallback plan with you. It could be quite literal, such as a place to live, or more flexible, like an allowance for groceries or gas. Whatever it is, make sure they know they do not have to go it alone.
Graduation is such an exciting time for you and your new graduate! Instead of using this as a time to talk about your dreams and expectations for them, keep your comments focused on them—their needs and hopes and fears—and keep your comments encouraging more than anything else.
~ Christin Sanders
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