Challenges of Graduates in Waiting

Kindergartens.  Elementary students.

Junior High students. High students. 

Undergraduates.  Graduate students.

During this month, many have been rewarded for their years of matriculation by receiving a promotion, certificate or degree. Graduations are such inspirational and motivational events.

No matter the age or level, every academic milestone is worth celebrating.

Young or seasoned there is always some difficulty that comes with reaching a goal and accomplishing it. While attending various graduations and grade promotions this May, as always it was refreshing to see the same excitement on the little toddler faces as I did on those that received their high school diplomas.

And then, there are always the other faces I observe in the audiences.

Those remaining classes that look forward to one day wearing that cap and gown. Those that are inspired by their senior classmates’ accomplishments. Those that are hopeful that they too can conquer their obstacles. And…

…those soon to be graduates.

Graduations bring joy and peace, but there is also a bit of long-suffering that each graduate had to endure. Graduates in waiting can relate to the latter; however, they only see the glory during the brief moment their friends walk across the stage.

They don’t see the same hurdles, the same setbacks and the same sacrifices that the present graduates made.

Each year and each level becomes more challenging to succeed. It is easier to matriculate through grade school than in high school.  It is even more difficult to matriculate in college and reach the finish line.

If you are a graduate in waiting, specifically college student, allow me to encourage you by first acknowledging your long-suffering.

4 Challenges of Graduates in Waiting

  1. Transition – Whether you entered college straight out of high school or life events caused you to decide to enter later, college life requires adjustment. Add an already made family to the equation and you just might fine yourself looking forward to a glass of red wine every evening. By the way, no judgement here. Moderation is the key. Once you enter your first week of classes you soon learn that you have to discipline yourself like never before.
  1. Pressure – Peer pressure doesn’t just exist in grade school. And it doesn’t have to come from your peers. Have you ever found yourself spectating the accomplishments of others? It appears that everything is going perfect for them. They got the grade on the exam you wanted. They have the family support you need. Then there is the parental pressure from parents that are living vicariously through you, trying to live your life for you.
  1. Delay – As minor as it sounds, this is a big one. Delay can cause you to interpret failures as denials or denials as ultimate failures. This really plays mind games with you while attending graduations instead of participating in them. When you are fixated on a finish date and it doesn’t come to pass, it can be very disappointing. It can cause you to feel like you aren’t accomplishing your goals.
  1. Depression – All of these things can cause depression. Did you know that most graduations occur during a stage known as S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder)? Did you know that depression affects 1 out of ever 4 college students? Did you know that suicide is the third leading cause of death among the age group of 15-24?  It is one reason why May is Mental Health Awareness Month.


Although you might be experiencing the long-suffering of a graduate in waiting, you are not alone.  You may be experiencing some or even all of the above challenges mentioned. But guess what? Those graduations you attended this month or will attend even today, they too had to encounter challenges. Some of those challenges you saw and others you didn’t because they probably didn’t tell anyone.

You can adjust to the transition.

You are in competition with yourself.

Your delay does not mean access denied or failure to your goals.

You are more than a conqueror! 

Celebrate other graduates as if it’s your turn.  If you don’t give up, it will be your turn soon. Remember that it is good to set time frames for your goals. But allow room for life adjustments. You will finish and finish strong at your appointed time. And when you do, you will have a better picture of why you had to be a graduate in waiting.  And when it is your turn to cross the stage and turn your tassel to the left, only you will be able to appreciate your accomplishment!

If you are a college student that needs help dealing with stress management, receive your success coaching just in time for summer school or your next semester.  To get started, email


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