5 Stages of Loss at Graduation

Zucker_friendsgrad2The 55 days of Café are almost into single digits, and reality is setting in—seniors are graduating.  How are seniors supposed to cope with the loss of the four greatest years in the happiest of Valleys? Think way, way back to Psych 100. We learned about Kubler-Ross’s Five stages of Loss and Grief. Though usually applied to dealing with death, this model can easily depict the thoughts and eventual acceptance of moving on from our most cherished collegiate years.

Denial

I don’t know the actual date of graduation. I think it’s sometime at the end of spring. There’s no need to pick up my cap and gown. The Student Bookstore will not run out of my height in my gown because no one else is picking their cap and gown yet either. And the other students are definitely not taking them out of the square plastic packaging allowing the folded creases to fade.

Anger

I refuse to answer phone calls from family members anymore because I can’t stand to discuss my move-out plans, or worse, talk about the future. No, I don’t know where my life will take me post graduation. No one else has plans, either. So don’t even ask me about pending interviews. I will lash out. I’m just waiting to hear back from a few places.

Bargaining

Maybe if I had been more prepared for the conclusion of college, it wouldn’t have approached so quickly. Maybe if I hadn’t attended Mad Mex Monday, Den Tuesday, Gafaoke Wednesday and Indigo Thursday every week, the semester wouldn’t have sped by as quickly. Would adding a minor and staying an extra semester or two be worth the delayed graduation?

Depression

Life has a strong possibility of ceasing to move forward after I make that inevitable trek across graduation stage to receive my diploma. Nothing I do after the weekend of May 10th will be half as fulfilling as my experience over the past four years. I refuse to leave my apartment… except to go Pickles… or G-Man.

Acceptance

Graduation is definite. I will make it across the stage in my perfectly ironed gown to happily receive my diploma. Even though I will no longer be enrolled at Penn State, I will able to travel back to State College to participate in Blue and White weekend and Homecoming. Though graduated, I will always bleed blue and white.

Photo by Ashley Zucker

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