5 stages of dealing with friends who are graduating

With seniors last day being today, a rush of emotions will come to all who have had the pleasure of getting to know these 90s kids over the years. If you’re lost and confused, don’t worry because we broke it down now, y’all. Though tbh, all I have left are my dogs.

Well you did it. Despite advice to the contrary and your better instincts, you became friends with some seniors. If you are not a senior, this poses a problem. In case you didn’t realize, after today they are gone forever and you are left alone. You may be experiencing a confusing mixture of emotions, but never fear. I have created a guide to help you through the five stages of losing your friends (five might make you cry).


You are in denial. You helped your friends through their essays. Told them good qualities about themselves for applications. Offered support and encouragement through the long months between submitting and hearing back. Celebrated acceptance letters and mourned rejections. And now that’s done. It is starting to sink in; they aren’t going to be here next year. You are going to have to find another group to sit with in the morning, you are less likely to have friends in your classes. Who will you work with for projects? You feel bad, so you just pretend it isn’t happening. After a while, this gets too hard so next you move on to:

2. Anger

As grad party invitation after grad party invitation piles up on Facebook and your friends are talking about graduation, leaving and moving, your resentment begins to grow. Why do they get to leave? Why do they get to go out and try new things and learn and meet people? Why do they get to move on with their lives while you’re stuck here for another year? It isn’t fair. You want to get out of here and it isn’t fair that they get to go first. You start thinking about ways to fix this which moves you on to:

3. Bargaining

What can you do to make this do to make this okay so you don’t lose your friends? They aren’t that much older than you. What if they stay? You try to convince them to apply to the University of Iowa or fail PE so they have to take it next year. This of course doesn’t work, so next you try to figure out how to follow them. Maybe if you take gov and econ, you can graduate early? You should have taken physics last year! You consider going to your guidance counselor to plead your case, but it doesn’t make much sense and then …

4. Depression

Depression sinks in. Your friends are going to be gone and you will be alone next year. No more lunches by the choir room, laughing or teasing. No more mornings where everyone seems to be falling asleep in the library. Choir is never going to be the same without being able to wink at your friend in the alto section. Mornings are going to be unbearable without greeting your friend on the bus. What is newspaper going to do when the seniors graduate? Will math club be able to survive without our fearless leader and her commanding hair? You try to avoid your friends; maybe if you pretend they aren’t there, it will make the inevitable separation easier, but to no avail. You finally reach … 

5. Acceptance 

You will have to reach this on your own. Somehow you will reach the point where you will be okay with your friends leaving you.You understand that you shouldn’t begrudge the opportunities your friends are given to go out into the world. You’ll get your chance soon. You’re excited for them as they begin their new adventure and proud of the people they have become. You wish you were leaving too, but you make plans to visit them, spend time together before they leave. You find the perfect gift for their grad parties and offer to help them pack. You’re still sad and you might shed a few tears when they walk across the stage to shake Dr. Sholutz’s hand and get their diplomas, and then when you see them up close in their robes, and at grad parties and their last day of school. You might cry a lot, okay? But you understand they are moving on and you are excited for them.


Cover Image by Maggie Terry featuring her dogs Teddy and Oliver

Gifs courtesy of GIPHY.