Finishing school can be liberating, but also daunting once reality sets in.
Finishing school can be liberating, but also daunting once reality sets in. iStock

What school graduates can expect when final bell rings

THEY are on the last lap of what has been a long race to the finish line.

After 13 years of formal schooling the end is near for the class of 2019.

With one semester or 16 weeks left, these high school students are contemplating life beyond the bizarre land where they have been going for approximately 5400 days of their life to perform tasks, conform to routines and mingle with classmates and teachers.

They are thinking about the world outside of their school community where the days have been planned out for them, they have been told what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and given clear rules and guidelines.

There will be no more bells telling them when to start, when to move to the next thing, when to eat or when to leave.

Graduation day will be the apex after which it will feel like the drop after the peak of a roller-coaster - terrifying but also exhilarating.

Some will charge out the gate with excitement keen to experience the world, while others will hesitate, fearful of the after-school phase, not familiar with any other routine.

The new freedom will be liberating, but it can also be scary. The terror of taking charge of their own life is suddenly real. It's a big change that may leave their heads spinning.

There's lots to experience in life, but many of the things they want to achieve won't be handed to them - they will need to have a focus and work for it.

They might have a few ideas about what they'd like to do, but they don't know whether these ideas are realistic or not, especially at 17 or 18 years old.

As they emerge from the schooling cocoon they may struggle with the burdens and emotions of the life beyond. They may feel a bit lost.

Deciding on the 'what next' isn't easy. There are so many options to explore.

The more information they have, the easier it will be to make a decision.

It's important they investigate all kinds of paths without placing unnecessary pressure and expectation on themselves.

In order to thrive they will need to: try new things to build up their resumes and talent-base; learn some "real world” skills; be adaptable; build routines; take advantage of resources; and make healthy choices.

Before they walk out that school gate for the last time, they will need to get their minds ready and remember that it is not the end; it's just the beginning.