Post-Graduation Depression Is Real; Here’s How to Navigate It
It’s a known fact that students can suffer from mental health difficulties while at college, but what about post-graduation depression? If you’re a current or prospective student, you’ve most likely been inundated with clichés like, “College will be the best time of your life! Seize every moment while it lasts and make the most of every opportunity!” It’s certainly true that college can be one of the best experiences of your life. You study a chosen subject for three or four years and take advantage of the extracurricular opportunities offered. For many, it’s also the new start they desire, a different environment with new friends and a newfound sense of freedom. But what happens once the adventure is over, you’re no longer in a structured routine of security and you’ve got your degree in hand, showcasing all your hard work and achievements? What happens next?
Before graduates can even get to “adulting,” a state of limbo occurs. It’s that time between completing your full-time education and ferociously competing with others to land your dream job. A study conducted by City Mental Health Alliance found that 49 percent of recent graduates said their mental well-being declined after graduation. Although it may not be an official diagnosis, post-graduation depression is a common feeling used to describe the overwhelming and stressful feeling new graduates often experience. Graduating symbolizes a huge leap into adult life that we’re often not prepared for. It’s no longer about completing assignments and taking part in lectures, but about securing a job, embarking on a successful career, and living out your dreams. Since this can be a particularly stressful period in your life, we’ve compiled some helpful mental health hacks to help you navigate life after college and tackle post-graduation depression.
Cover Photo: Rattankun Thongbun (Getty Images)
Remember you are not alone.
Reach out to family, friends, other graduates for support. Share how you're feeling with others who might relate. Chances are, you’re all in the same boat experiencing the same feelings of uncertainty and recognizing that can really help put things into perspective.
Reconnect with friends at home.
A lot of students move away from their family home to pursue their higher education. It’s fairly common to lose touch with those you grew up with. If you find yourself back at home feeling lonely, perhaps rekindling those friendships and sharing college experiences could feel comforting.
Apply to jobs that you may not meet the requirements for.
It’s important to understand that there is no such thing as the "perfect candidate." A lot of job requirements are "desirable" to have and not essential. If you have some of the skills required for the job, then take the chance and apply for the role.
Re-evaluate your career aspirations.
Three or four years have passed since you entered higher education and your goals may have changed since then. If that’s the case, then establish a new game plan to get where you want to be. That may mean pursuing graduate school or taking another course to change your career direction.
Don’t be afraid to seek help.
If you find yourself struggling to cope, make sure you reach out to family members or a therapist to help manage your feelings and emotions.
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