Social Dynamics of Leaving High School and Stepping Out

As you transition into independence through college life or the working force, you will find that it becomes important to be intentional about healthy relationships and activity. Studies show that establishing good friends and a connection with the community lead to greater success and less depression and anxiety. During middle and high school, family life and daily school life provided you with these things, often without effort. As you move out on your own (and even if you stay at home), it becomes important to recognize these needs and seek to meet them. Some helpful tips include:

  1. Stay in touch with your family. Talking through problems and big decisions with them is valuable, as they understand your background and history better than anyone. Often, relationships with parents and siblings grow in a new direction that is often refreshing and based on mutual respect.
  2. Realize it is normal for many high relationships to grow distant. There will be some deep friendships that will last- invest in these as others naturally drift.
  3. Seek new friends with common interests and personalities. This is a new chapter and you can select those people that will best relate to you, support you, and support a healthy lifestyle. Recognize that you can choose positive influences and allow them to foster your own good choices.
  4. Get involved with activities that interest you. Our community and most colleges offer events and organizations that you can join, including arts, sports, spiritual interests, hobbies, political activism, career interests- and so much more! You might even try something new!
  5. Expect some stress and some difficult days. Most people your age experience this, as there is so much change going on in your life! Simple things like good sleeping habits, regular healthy meals, and exercise tremendously affect your mood and your ability to handle stress. These are now your decisions to prioritize. Take care of yourself! Talking through tough times with family or friends is extremely important too. Needing a counselor for special insight and neutral and private advice is something that can be a game-changer. We are happy to help you find a good counselor. Colleges’ health services offer expert counselors too.
  6. Avoid the urge to party like a rock star! Whether seeking friendships or dealing with stress, substance use becomes a real temptation for the young adult. Unfortunately, it often leads to unhealthy relationships, increased stress, and sometimes life-altering consequences. Be intentional in deciding ahead of time to make good choices and avoid them.

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