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The Transition from Senior Year to College

I spend a lot of time talking to teenagers about transitions. The transition from weekend to school, from school to work, from one home to another, from class to class, and so on. Each transition requires energy and the ability to adjust and adapt. One very specific life transition that is on a lot of seniors’ minds right now is the one from high school to college.

This transition involves so many layers of shifts and changes. You might be trying to figure out which college makes the most financial sense, but you are also thinking about which campus felt the most welcoming, and you might be trying to narrow down your major, and so on. These are all valid considerations and decisions that can require a lot of time and energy.

Meanwhile, you might be considering what the transition from senior year to college will mean for you personally– for your identity, for who and how you are. These are some of the questions I’ve been hearing from seniors:

  • Friendship— What will it be like to make new friends? Will I stay connected to my high school friends– if so, how?
  • Family— Do I want to stay in touch? If so, what do I want this to look like? How often will I visit home if I move away? Will things change while I’m away?
  • Time Management— There’s so much free time; what do I do with it?! AND there’s so much work; how will I manage it?!
  • Life with Roommates— What is it like to live with people who are not my family? Will I get along with them?
  • Money and Finances— Will I have a part-time job? Am I ready to manage my own money? 
  • Self-care and Stress Management— Will I have enough time to myself? Where? How? 
  • Drinking and Drugs— What boundaries will I hold for myself? What do I need to know about substances and parties?
  • Relationships, Dating, and Sex— How will relationships be different in college? What do I want/need when it comes to dating and sex?
  • Asking for Help + Navigating Resources— Where do I go for help? How can I do this without my family? 

What else is on your mind when you think of this upcoming transition?! (I am certain someone else is wondering the same thing!)

Finding Community for the Transition

As an advocate and life coach for teens, I believe in normalizing the full range of human experiences (including all of those listed above) AND supporting young people in finding avenues for support. This is why I have created an online community specifically for YOU– high school seniors who are preparing for college. And because I really believe in you. So deeply.

With support, facilitation, and mini-lessons from Courtney, members of this group will have the opportunity to try out new ideas and strategies. Additionally, you will have the space to problem-solve and ask for support– from Courtney and your peers– when new challenges or worries arise. Because they will. And because asking for help is a huge first step towards your success.

I believe that community– the opposite of going it alone– can be a powerful antidote for the stress of transitions. As humans, we are wired to be in connection. Thus, sharing time with peers who are asking similar questions or experiencing similar fears and excitements can help you feel more at ease. It would be an honor to support you and to have your voice in this space. Email me to get on the waitlist! (Please note that nobody will be turned away due to lack of funds; this group is for ALL college-bound seniors who are interested in the community.)

Questions to Ask Yourself as You Prepare for this Transition

I’d like to leave high school seniors with a few questions to ask yourself as you prepare for the transition to college. You may like to journal on these topics or find a friend or family member to share with. It may be helpful to revisit these weekly to check in with yourself throughout the process. Finally, I encourage you to add any additional questions that would be helpful to you.

  1. How am I tending to my relationship with myself? Listening to yourself, your needs, and preferences, is important work for this transition and beyond. When things feel too fast or too heavy or too overwhelming, it’s time to slow down and be with yourself.
  2. Who/what is in my support system? How can I lean on these people/things over the next several months? I encourage all teens to name their support system because the more familiar we are with this idea, the more likely we will be to reach out when we really need help.
  3. What am I excited about? I encourage you to take some time to consider the aspects of this transition that excite and inspire you. Take time to think about what you want college to look, sound, and feel like. Visualize yourself there, enjoying the experience!
  4. What outstanding questions/fears/concerns do I have? Who/what in my support network can help me address these items? I invite you to approach these items one at a time. AND remember that you may not have it all sorted out now or even before you show up on campus, and that’s okay. This is a process!
  5. What helps me feel grounded/settled/steady? I suggest googling “grounding practices” or browsing the list on this blog for ideas.

You are Invited to Connect!

Feel free to reach out to let me know how your transition is going! You can comment below, send me an email, or join us in the community!

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