7 Tips for a Successful Transition After High School

High school graduation is a huge accomplishment. It’s the culmination of 12 dedicated years in the classroom, but it’s only the beginning of adulthood. Mighty Mommy shares seven tips to help your graduate transition to a fulfilling adult life.

By

Cheryl Butler
June 14, 2021

to-do list.”

Learning to manage your time is one of the most critical skills for leading a productive life. But it’s also one of the most difficult to learn. I assumed that my kids would follow suit with my organizational skillset, but I quickly learned that most of them had no concept of managing their time. 

We practiced this skill a lot in our household. We made lists, figured out how much time every task needed, and worked backwards to understand when something needed to start in order to finish on time. It takes practice, but once they hone in on the concept of being in control of their time, they will master the rest of their goals much more quickly.  

Check out the episode Time Management Tips for College Students to prepare your high school grad for adult life.

Tip #2: Understanding personal finances is critical

When I was in high school (many moons ago), the emphasis was on algebra, calculus, and geometry. I don’t recall one class that focused on personal finance. That has changed a bit now, but if there is one critical skill I’d wish for every high school graduate to take seriously, it’s getting a handle on personal finance. 

Learning to manage your money means understanding how to keep track of your income and expenses. This includes managing a debit and credit card, setting a budget, saving money, and investing.

Quick and Dirty Tips’ financial expert, Laura Adams, has lots of practical advice for all stages of life. Her popular episode, How to Create a Personal Finance System for Money Success, has tangible steps to understand and navigate your finances. 

Tip #3: Communication skills are key

Financial know-how is essential, but another winning skill for all high school graduates is the art of communication. Good communication skills include speaking, listening, writing, and non-verbally using body language, eye contact, and even posture. 

Effective communication takes practice, but now is the time for your young adult to pay attention to how he/she interacts with others so that this skill can be groomed and perfected. It will be critical for their professional and personal success.

Check out this helpful video, 5 Conversation and Communications Tips (With Exercises), that can help anyone kick their communication skills up a notch or two!  

Tip #4: Don’t let stuff manage your life

It’s easy to get swept away with the novelty of having the latest electronics, smartphones, sports equipment, trendy clothes, and other accessories. But at what cost? In my episode Here’s What Happened When I Became a Minimalist Mom, I share the down-to-earth benefits of not letting material possessions rule your life. If your student can grasp this now rather than later, he/she will live a well-intentioned life.  

It’s easy to get swept away with the novelty of having the latest electronics, smartphones, sports equipment, trendy clothes, and other accessories. But at what cost?

Tip #5: Your health is not optional

I remember how alive and free I felt after graduating high school. I was active, healthy, and full of energy. Because I was young and wasn’t sick often, I know I didn’t prioritize my health. 

I consider myself lucky to have sustained good health with such a carefree attitude, but I remind my eight kids never to take their health for granted. As young adults start venturing into the world independently, they need to recognize the importance of maintaining good health, in both body and mind. Have open and candid health conversations with your kids, including recognizing the risks of substance abuse and sexual health and safety.

For more excellent health and fitness advice, check out the Get-Fit Guy and Nutrition Diva podcasts.  

Tip #6: Never stop learning

When we graduate from high school or college, many of us are ready for a learning break. It’s normal to want to walk away from textbooks, structured curriculums, and course deadlines, but we all soon realize that life is a learning journey. 

Quick and Dirty Tips’ workplace expert Rachel Cooke (aka the Modern Mentor), shared some excellent advice on how to stay hungry in the quest to learn more in her episode The 2021 Career Wisdom You Need from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She shared a great quote from the late Supreme Court Justice in response to a letter from an eight-year-old girl: 

“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.” 

There are endless ways to fill your mind with new information. Listen to podcasts, find topics that interest you on YouTube, explore your local library, visit museums, attend free talks at nearby universities. The only limits are the ones created by you. 

Tip #7: Cultivate meaningful relationships

High school is usually a time when kids bond and make some of their best friends. Once graduation happens, however, kids head off to different colleges or paths in life. New friendships will blossom after graduation, along with romantic partners, work relationships, and professional interests. 

Those of us who have had lifelong besties are truly blessed. In addition, having a close relationship with siblings, cousins, and other family members is also essential. 

Encourage your young adult to nurture quality friendships and special relationships as part of his/her’s transition into the world of adulthood. The Mayo Clinic’s article, “Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health,” explains that solid friendships play a significant role in promoting our overall health and offer suggestions on cultivating these relationships.