Everyone’s post-high school journey is different.

Some students may jet straight off to a four-year university, while others may take a year off to figure out life and chill at home. Others may enroll in their local community college, while some may spend a year traveling—who knows?

Regardless of the route you take after you hang up your cap and gown, you’ll have to accept that life as you once knew it is now a thing of the past. Keep reading for 10 changes you’ll experience as soon as you graduate high school:

1. Your Romantic Relationships Will Become More Serious

Don’t get us wrong—it’s not like the minute you swoop up that diploma, all the players and rebels of the world suddenly fall to the wayside. You’re sure to experience your fair share of flops and short-lived flings in the romance department, regardless of your age. But, once you graduate high school, you’ll start looking at relationships differently. You’ll start to envision a little more of a long-term future with the people you get involved with.

Also, your dates will extend out of just movie nights and group bowling. Your relationships are more likely to incorporate road trips or minor getaways, along with engaging in a lot more one-on-one time, and being more open to meeting each other’s parents. While mom and dad will continue to be skeptical of who you spend your time with, now that you’re out of high school, they’ll be a bit more accepting of you hanging around someone as more than just friends.

Veronica smiling at Archie on an episode of Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)


2. Your Friend Group Dynamic Will Change

Unless your entire high school friend group goes to the same college, spending significant time apart is inevitable. Even if you hang on weekends or catch up over the phone several times a week, if you’re not on the same campus at the same time, there will be some uncontrollable distance between you and them. To top it off, you’ll start making new friends, either in class, at work, or wherever the road takes you. While you’ll always maintain an undeniable bond with your high school pals, new people and new priorities are guaranteed to shake things up a bit in your social life.


3. More Responsibilities Will Be Expected of You

Whether it’s getting a job fresh out of high school, moving out of the house, or paying for your phone bill or car insurance, once you turn 18, you’re officially considered an “adult.” And while not every parent abides by that number as the definitive age to hold you responsible for every single little thing, it’s still old enough to expect you to have your priorities in check. This is the time when you’re expected to start making something of your life—even if it’s working at a fast food joint.

Rachel Leigh Cook in She's All That

(She’s All That via Miramax)


4. Your Work Will Intensify

Whether it’s school work in college or a full-time job as an assistant at your mom or dad’s law firm, you can most likely expect to work around the clock once high school ends. In college, classes take up a huge chunk of your day—and when you’re not at an actual school desk, you’re busy hitting the books at home or in the library. At a full-time job, you’re expected to work at least 40 hours a week, and by the time you get home each day, you’re exhausted, making it less likely you’ll want to go out afterward. You’ll find that your social life will become much more limited to weekends.


5. Money Will Suddenly Take Up a Lot of Headspace

Ah, the good ol’ days of being in high school, getting a paycheck and running to the nearest Urban Outfitters. Welp, not so fast! Now, there’s a lot of thought that must go into each dollar you receive (and spend). If you’re in school, you may be thinking about paying back your student loans. If you’re not in school, you’re probably saving up for an apartment or car—or, heck, even clothes and things to get by, if your parents have already cut you off. Even if you aren’t in one of these situations, you’re bound to get a lecture from mom and dad about how “you need to start saving for your future.” And while it’s definitely eye-roll-inducing, you’ll want to listen.

Wallet With Money

(via Unsplash)


6. You’ll Have to Take on a Ton of Tedious Tasks

You know those seemingly small things your parents always took care of for you as a kid? Well, they’re handing over the torch so you can take over the tasks, yourself. Prepare to start doing your own laundry, taking your car for tune-ups, making your own doctor’s appointments, ironing your own clothes, making coffee in the morning, etc. Don’t you just love growing up?


7. You’ll Try a Lot of New Things

Once you’re out of high school, and (most likely) away from the confines of your parents and the same people you’ve been in classes with for years, you’ll feel more comfortable experimenting with all sorts of things to get to know yourself better. Whether it’s a totally different group of friends, a new clothing style or an attempt at launching a YouTube channel, not only does graduating from high school give you a fresh lease on life, you’ll now be exposed to so much more than you were before. While you may not look back favorably on all your decisions, experimenting gives you the chance to figure out what works for you.

Stacked Bracelets Accessories Boho Luxe

(via Shutterstock)


8. You’ll No Longer Have a Consistent Schedule or Routine

Remember the days when you started your morning at 8 a.m., ended school at 3 p.m., hung out with friends, studied, ate dinner, went to bed and did it all over again for the rest of the week? Well, you can kiss that dependable schedule goodbye. Between college or work, or both, you’ll now be all over the place at random hours. And this isn’t even including office hours with a professor or time in the library. Each day will differ for you, and you’ll be occupied far more hours in the day than you were used to beforehand.


9. You’ll Have a Lot More Freedom

While there are many unfavorable changes that accompany post-high school graduation, your newfound freedom surely isn’t one of them. You’re on the brink of turning 18 (if you haven’t hit the mark already), which technically makes you an adult. As long as you do your part to show you’re at least trying to be responsible, your elders will likely leave you alone—at least much more than they did when you were still in high school. You can likely kiss curfew goodbye, and say sayonara to having to sneak around with an S.O. Now’s your chance to embrace the person you want to be. There doesn’t have to be anything holding you back.


(via Shutterstock)


10. You’ll Mature

With all the new responsibilities you’re about to take on, and different people who are coming into your life, it’s only natural that you’ll grow out of the person you were in high school. No, it’s not expected for you to suddenly act like someone you’re not, but as you gain more life experience, you’ll start seeing the world through a different lens, and you’ll notice that your opinions on friendships, relationships and other life matters may differ from how you felt before.


High school may be nearing an end, but looking back, we bet THIS is the one thing you never did during grades 9-12, based on your zodiac sign!