Real Family Talk: What to do After Graduation

Lost after graduation? Here’s some advice.

Willie and Elaine Oliver
Real Family Talk: What to do After Graduation

Q. I just graduated from high school and feel a bit lost. Most of my classmates know where they are going to college and seem to have their lives all figured out and organized. Based on their Instagram posts, many of them already have summer internships lined up and seem excited about their lives. I don’t know where I’ll be going to school in the fall. I don’t even have a summer job or internship offer, and feel lonely, left out, and left behind. Is there something I am doing wrong? Sometimes I wonder why bother even going to college. I don’t seem to be able to get anything right. What do you think?  

A. Congratulations on graduating from high school! That’s quite an accomplishment since it takes dedication and hard work to achieve that level of success. Also, thank you for taking the time to share what’s going on in your life and for sending in your question. 

Feeling a bit lost, lonely, left out, or falling behind are not unusual emotions after completing an important stage in life like high school. It is quite common to feel out of sorts, even nostalgic, when experiencing a major life transition like going from high school to college or to a vocation. Also, devoting much time to social media may amplify and even exaggerate what others are doing, making your situation appear more dire than it really is.  

One way to combat the feelings you are experiencing is to spend less time with social media and more time in God’s Word and with good friends and family members. In the Bible you will find that God has special plans for your life: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11, NLT*). 

Spending time in the Word of God can lead you to positive and hopeful messages, so you will know you are never alone. Jesus says: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, NLT). And if you are afraid or lack peace, His promise is: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NLT). If you are feeling left behind or in need, remember: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19, NLT). 

This is also an opportunity for you to realize you don’t need to compare yourself with anyone else. God made you unique and has a special plan for your life. Don’t allow your heart to be troubled (John 14:1, NLT). If you need a job or to get into college, ask God (Matt. 7:7, NLT). And remember, that with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27, NLT). Trust Him! 

You are in our prayers. 

Willie Oliver, PhD, CFLE an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, family sociologist and certified family life educator, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [email protected]

Elaine Oliver, PhDc, LCPC, CFLE a licensed clinical professional counselor, educational psychologist and certified family life educator, is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [email protected]

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

Willie and Elaine Oliver