Once the ceremony and parties are over, many high school and college graduates feel a sense of sadness or depression – a sort of Is-That-All-There-Is? feeling. Why is this so common?
First, in the run-up to graduation our time is filled with planning and anticipation. Finishing final exams, planning and rehearsing for the ceremony and related events keep us running at full speed with a combination of adrenaline and anticipation. It makes sense that when the event is through there is a sudden drop-off in the level of energy and excitement that can bring us down.
Another reason for the post-graduation letdown is the unrealistic and “romantic” expectations that people have with major goal attainment. Many of us expect to feel a sense of transformation when we graduate, and we are let down when the next day seems just like any other.
A final issue is neglecting to set goals beyond the graduation date. All too often, individuals place a laser-like focus on some milestone goal, such as completion of a degree, and don’t pay as much attention to the next major goal or life event. The inability to look beyond the milestone leads to a sense of emptiness. The good news is that much of the disappointment will disappear with the setting of a new, challenging goal.