So You’re Done High School, Now What?
Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment. It’s a time to celebrate not only the four years you spent in high school but the years before that, too. You may be graduating into a new academic or professional chapter, but it’s also a whole new chapter of life!
There could be a lot pulling at your attention as you prepare to move into what’s next. You might be preparing for college or university or finalizing details for your gap year. You may be looking for a new job or moving into a trade.
No matter what you’ll be doing in the fall, these tips can help you make the most of your summer after Grade 12.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
First of all, take time to celebrate! Grade 12 can feel like it’s dragged on forever. Once it’s over, you may want to never look back.
But taking time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished will solidify your achievements. It’ll remind you of everything you’ve gone through to get to this point. You put in the work; you deserve to take some time to recognize it.
And celebrate your friends! They’ve been with you through it all and have accomplished a lot themselves. If you’re all going in different directions in the fall, this will be your last time as students together! Celebrate the time you’ve had and pray for and with your friends as they head into what’s next.
Reflect on Your Time in High School
As you celebrate, you’ll be able to pray and reflect on everything you did in high school. Reflection helps you do a number of things. But most importantly, it makes you pause.
When you’re graduating from high school, everything is go-go-go, even in a virtual climate. You have classes to finish, finals to take, the actual graduation ceremony, grad parties to take part in, friends to check in with, and so much packing to do if you’re moving out in the fall.
Stopping to spend time in prayer and reflection slows you down. It helps you remember not only your accomplishments but the way God has moved in your life. You can think back on the friendships you made, on the people whose lives influenced yours and whose lives you influenced.
Prayer and reflection help you remember high school not just as something you’re glad to have gotten through, but something that brought you moments of unstoppable laughter in the hallway or bonding study nights with your friends before a big exam.
As you reflect, take notes. What do you want to remember most from high school? Going forward, how can you be intentional about checking in with your friends?
Are there things you wish you’d done differently? Are there habits you want to start or continue? Write these things down in a place where you’ll be able to reference them often as you move into what’s next.
Enjoy Your Summer
This may seem like a no-brainer, but enjoy your summer! You may be working full-time or taking courses ahead of college or university. You may have a huge to-do list before you start your gap year. But try to carve out time to spend with your friends or do the things you love to do.
If you’re moving away in the fall, spend some time over the summer visiting all your favorite spots around town. Take pictures for a scrapbook or photo album that you can look back on once you’re away.
If you’ve got extra time and don’t know what to do with it, try volunteering or working for a cause that you’re interested in. You could offer your time to an animal shelter or work at summer camp. InterVarsity has nine camps across Canada that are always looking for leaders and volunteers to help kids know more about who God is.
Getting a part-time job is a great way to get work experience and save money, too. Pray and ask God how he’d like you to use your summer then step into his invitation whole-heartedly.
Prepare for What’s Next
And, of course, it’s important to prepare for the season ahead. You’ll likely have to prepare in concrete ways: packing up your room at home, meeting up with friends one last time, saying goodbye to co-workers at your summer job.
But don’t forget to prepare internally, too. Ask God what he’d have you do to get ready. Consider carving out time to sit quietly with him each day.
And know that starting university or college can be tough! Or if you’re moving somewhere new or stepping into a job you’ve never had before, that can be a challenging transition, too.
Finishing high school is an incredible change from the life you’ve known for, well, your entire life. Whatever’s next, you’ll be meeting new people and learning new things, all in a new place with a new routine. Or, you may be staying home but adjusting to a paradigm of being more independent. Your friends from high school may not be in town anymore.
Bring your dreams, worries and hopes to God in this season. Ask him to prepare your heart and mind for what’s ahead as you take care of all the practical pieces.
Community Is Key
No matter what, community is going to be key. Staying connected with your home church, finding a new one in your new town, and joining a group that shares your faith at school will be paramount. You’ll have people to ask questions to, people to pray with. And, of course, if you’re a student, people who will know the best places on campus to grab a cup of coffee or put in a few hours of studying.
Launch Into What’s Next
We hope and pray that your summer is a time of refreshment and preparation. Use these tips to get the most out of those summer months. Before you know it, you’ll be launching into your new chapter.
And we can’t wait to see what God has in store for you.