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Change is the only constant in life, so learning strategies to successfully navigate transitions will benefit you throughout life

Dawn Livorsi, D.S.W., LCSW
• June 13, 2022
Graduation can be an exciting time that can also be fraught with stress. It involves saying goodbye to a familiar way of life, friends you’ve built strong bonds with and a place that’s felt like home. It may also involve saying hello to exciting new possibilities, like making new friends, moving to a new location, starting a new chapter. 
To better prepare for this transition, it’s important to honor all the feelings that may emerge during this eventful stage of life— sadness, excitement, anxiety, fear, pride, etc. "People tend to focus on what's coming next rather than sit with the complex emotions that often arise at endings," says Dawn Livorsi, DSW, LCSW. "Give yourself room to process your feelings. Take time to say goodbye to the people and places that were important to you." There are many ways to accomplish this, but some may include: attending your graduation ceremony; planning a family graduation party or dinner; telling a teacher or mentor how much you appreciate them; writing in a journal about your thoughts, and feelings about leaving something old and transitioning to something new. This type of closure will allow you to enter the next stage of life without regret.  
We've all heard, “Change is the only constant in life,” so learning strategies to successfully navigate through transitions is a skill that will benefit you throughout your life. As you settle into your new beginning, Livorsi suggests trying these four strategies: 
  • Build community. Find ways to interact with people in meaningful ways. Healthy socialization has significant benefits for emotional wellbeing, along with providing practical support and connection. 
  • Be open-minded. It's good to have a plan for your future but allow yourself to remain flexible. Be open to life's unexpected opportunities- they can be some of the most rewarding.  
  • Ask questions. Don't hesitate to ask for more information when you are making decisions. You may be completing some tasks for the first time, like signing an apartment lease or purchasing health insurance. Ask for clarification so that you feel confident in your decisions.  
  • Seek mentorship. Having a quality relationship with a mentor has a positive impact in both your career and your personal life. Mentoring can be useful in establishing goals, developing a professional identity, and providing general guidance. 
For students transitioning from high school to college, Livorsi offers the following tips to ease into this specific life stage: 
  • Get connected. Join student organizations related to your major or your interests. It is a great way to meet people who may potentially become friends.  
  • Establish healthy habits. A baseline of self-care will serve you well, especially as the school year becomes more stressful. Regular nutrition and hydration, good sleep hygiene, exercise/movement, and social supports are all helpful components.  
  • Time management is key. Review course expectations/syllabi frequently and use a calendar to help organize your due dates and obligations. Managing your time well will decrease your stress level.  
  • Ask for help if you need it. Universities typically have many services in place to help students be successful, including counseling, health services, academic advising, tutoring, and career planning. Make use of these supports- they are there to help you! 
Whatever lies ahead for you, we wish you well on your journey. 

Dawn Livorsi, D.S.W., LCSW


Dr. Livorsi has over fifteen years of experience, with much of her career focusing on the clinical needs of children, adolescents and their families. Having provided clinical leadership in a variety of therapeutic settings, including alternative school placements and residential programs, Dr.