So you’ve done it. You have survived several years of exam pressure and of dealing with stressful social situations, and you have graduated. And now “they” want you to stand up in front of a crowd and be the center of attention in a graduation ceremony? “Is there no end to the ways the world will torture me?”, you may be thinking!
Attending your graduation ceremony isn’t mandatory but it is an important rite of passage and not going is a decision that you may well come to regret later in life. Giving in to your social anxiety will also reinforce your difficulties, and as you probably know by now, you will be better off, on the long run, putting strategies in place to help you cope with the situation rather than avoid it.
An Occasion for Celebration
If you suffered from social anxiety at your high school graduation, chances are that you will be dreading your college graduation. However, remember what the ceremony is really about. It won’t be like prom and its expectations of “performance” on the day. You have already done the work and you don’t have to do anything except collect your symbolic reward – and standing up in front of everybody of course! The only response you will get from the audience is applauses and congratulations.
Here are some social anxiety college graduation tips:
Take Time Off
No doubt you will be exhausted after your final exams so pamper yourself for a few weeks if you can, and relax. Distract yourself and keep busy so as not to feed your social anxiety about the graduation ceremony by overthinking it. It sounds too easy to be helpful, but it really is!
Of course, it is difficult not to think about what will come after graduation, and the fact that it symbolizes that you are going to have to join the work force when you may not know yourself what it is you actually want to do with your life! But for once, keep your head down, take one day at a time, and don’t look at the big picture.
Make sure that you know where and when the ceremony takes place, and how to get there well in advance. If you feel very anxious, it would be a good idea to travel to the venue a couple of days beforehand so that you know for sure how long the journey takes and you can find a suitable meeting point for your family.
Choose your clothes and get everything you will need the day before. These practical concerns; the fear of being late or not finding your relatives, can add to your social anxiety about college graduation on the day.
Graduation ceremonies may seem stressful, but they are an acknowledgement of your effort and academic achievement and a pat on the back. You have worked hard and you absolutely deserve to be celebrated, so iron your gown and put your hat on!
And last but not least … CONGRATULATIONS !!