Although graduation is supposed to be an exciting step for most of us, the transition between education and “real life” is often more difficult than what people expect. To put it into perspective, up until graduation, your whole life was structured by deadlines, essays, and clear steps you had to go through. However, now that you’ve left education, you’re faced with a sea of possibilities, but you might also feel empty and stuck at the same time. The frustration can cause feelings such as uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and even sadness. Post-graduation depression needs to be taken seriously, especially since it affects more and more people over the years.
What causes post-graduation depression?
Feeling confused after graduation is not uncommon. You have to adapt to life after university and think about your future at the same time, which can be exhausting. There are many factors associated with stress after graduating so let’s have a look at some of the most common ones.
- Moving back home. Throughout university, you certainly became a more mature and independent individual. You had to live by your own rules and manage your time accordingly. Thus, having to go back home can be a difficult adjustment. You might be faced with restrictions, chores and feel like you’re taking a step back.
- Being separated from your friends. Now that university is over, a lot of people have to either move back home, move for a new job or even go to a different country. You probably met amazing people over the past few years at university and built strong friendships and connections. Therefore, it can be hard to let go and have to adjust to life without your friends, especially if you spent a lot of time together.
- Having too much free time. Without a job, you probably have much more free time, and although this might sound like a good thing, it can quickly make you feel like you’re not doing enough. The worst part is that people around you will get interviews, jobs and seem to have fun which might make you feel frustrated and unmotivated.
- Getting job rejections. The job-hunting process is extremely self-destroying for most of us. Despite all the effort you put in, applying for jobs can be very painful. Especially since getting a lot of rejections can lower your self-esteem and confidence. This process can make you feel like you’re stuck in a loop and that you can’t move on.
How to survive post-graduation depression
You need to realise that what you’re going through is quite common and that most importantly, it’s okay. The truth is that most people are sold a dream when applying to university, and very few people are told about life after graduation. So, it’s no wonder why graduating can be such a stressful challenge for many. There are however many things you can do to make it a little easier and overcome your post-graduation stress.
- Avoid social media. You’re probably stuck in a routine where you’re constantly using social media and comparing yourself to others. This is unhealthy and will indirectly make you feel worse about yourself. Remember that, although people on socials might seem to be living the perfect life, you don’t know what they’re actually going through or how they got to where they are right now. Ultimately, you must focus on yourself and think about what you really need.
- Create a timetable. Now that you’re free from education, the structure you used to follow has collapsed. You don’t have to worry about studying, doing homework, or making it to the next year anymore. This can be very daunting and the lack of structure can make you feel lost and empty. It’s good practice to make a timetable and recreate a form of structure within your life.
- Keep busy. Although you might not feel like it. Keeping is a good way to get through post-graduation depression, it will prevent you from overthinking and combat the feeling of emptiness. Now that you have free time, you can allow yourself time to apply for jobs but also do the things you wanted to do while you were a busy student such as travelling, going to the gym or painting.
- Meet up with friends. Missing your friends after graduation can be very difficult, and unfortunately, it’s not talked about much. You’re not alone though, and it’s totally fine to feel that way. So why don’t you go ahead and organise something? Not only will you have something to look forward to, but you’ll also be able to share how you feel with people who are probably going through the same thing.
- You’re not alone. Being stuck after graduating may you feel like the entire world is against you. However, this is not true. You have to remember that you’re not alone and that a lot of graduates have a hard time finding a job after university. Most importantly, try not to isolate yourself. You should let others know how you feel and understand that it’s okay to feel lost and confused at this point in life.
Post-graduation depression is very difficult and not uncommon. This is because the transition between life before and after university is usually brutal. It can change you a lot as a person and make you feel empty and lost despite everything you’ve accomplished. Ultimately, you have to remember that you’re not alone and that it’s okay to struggle. Don’t be ashamed to open up about how you feel and remember that it’s temporary. Focus on the things you need and don’t forget that graduating is the start and not the end.