Graduation Blues: Post-College Depression Is Real
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Graduation Blues: Post-College Depression Is Real

No one is talking about post-graduate depression.

6591
Graduation Blues: Post-College Depression Is Real
Flickr

The fall comes around and you’re seeing all your underclassmen friends return to school, and settle back into the swing of things. And boom, it hits you: that chapter of your life is over for good. There’s no going back. And swallowing that reality pill is hard. Graduating from a university is one of the biggest bittersweet moments you’ll ever experience. Trust me when I say leaving college is a lot harder than going to college ever was.

Losing that part of your life, that part of your identity, and support system is difficult. Everything you’ve known for the last four years is gone. Your life changes completely. Slowly, gradually, depression weasels its way into your life. No one is prepared for that to happen to them. Some people may not even realize that’s what they’re experiencing. Especially since NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT POST-GRADUATION DEPRESSION, and it’s a very real issue that many graduates are facing and struggling with.

Before you know it, you’re constantly experiencing feelings of confusion, despair, and panic. You can’t sleep, but you can’t get out of bed in the morning. You lose your appetite and have no motivation to cook for yourself, and barely have any money to buy groceries anyway. So you end up cramming junk food down your throat whenever necessary. And forget working out, when you can’t even stay interested in any of your hobbies and favorite past times. You’re losing interest in everything, pushing people away, losing confidence in yourself, and you can’t seem to get motivated. Your mental health is slipping and it’s causing you to disregard the rest of your health. I haven’t called my dentist back in months, or my doctor back in weeks. Hell, it took me a month to be able to even write this article.

After graduation, you’ve completely lost a sense of your identity. You are no longer in your little college bubble that safely secured you for the past four years. All your friends are gone within a blink of an eye – and you were so focused on passing your finals you hardly had time to focus on spending time with your besties before they were gone. One minute you’re writing essays and studying for exams and the next you’re worrying about bills and paying loans and competing for jobs, with little time for a transition in between. We’ve been in school since we were 3-5 years old, graduating means leaving a way of life we’ve always known.

This makes settling into a career scary because you have to leave what you’ve always known behind, and pray you picked the right path. In college, you were constantly getting validation from your professors, faculty, peers, etc., but in the corporate world no one cares about you. College made you feel powerful and important, but in the corporate world there is little room for you and your input, which can amount to feelings of self-doubt and depression.

Some of us end up having to move back home because we don’t have the financial security to live on our own – and moving back home is a nightmare. Just as you were getting used to having your freedom and autonomy and very active social life, boom you’re back at home. Sure, you came home for holidays and on breaks, but this is different. It’s not a special occasion, it’s the real deal. You’re trying to adjust to losing your freedom and the social life you once had, and instead adhering to your parents rules again - which can cause you to end up fighting with your parents like it’s high school all over again. Eventually you slip back into your old routine, almost like you never left. And before you know it, it feels like you’re stuck in a rut.

Not to mention being closer to and surrounded by your family means you’re closer to their pressures – pressures you’re already getting from everywhere else. Everyone is always asking you what you’re doing with your life, and you feel like they’re all expecting some big concrete answer. But you have no clue.

The problem with all this free time also means you have more time to spend on social media, and you’re spending a lot of time on it. Which means you’re spending a lot of time watching your peers succeed while you don’t, and comparing yourself to them. You’re spending more time hating yourself, and feeling bitter. You start feeling like you’re failing, like you’re worthless, like it’s your fault. You start focusing on what you don’t have instead of what you do. And suddenly your degree doesn’t feel like an achievement anymore.

The job market today is ruthless and highly competitive. You’re either underqualified for a job in your field, or overqualified for a minimum wage job to get you by. Seriously. Every minimum wage job I applied for or any job I applied for out of my field rejected me because I was overqualified or they feared I’d just quit the second I got an offer in my field. Didn’t matter if it was a job in customer service for retail stores, doctor’s offices, or anything of the sort. I couldn’t even get a job as a cashier at Petco. Petco! Ugh. Despite the fact that I had conducted research in my field for years, and participated in volunteering and extracurricular activities whenever I could (because I also held multiple part-time positions to support myself throughout school), I could rarely measure up to the unrealistic expectations the employers in my field held. These expectations land even harsher on low-income graduates because if you had to work throughout college to afford schooling, it meant you had less time to build relevant work experience and participate in extracurricular activities - never mind an unpaid internship. And these are the students that are at most risk when graduating because they have less to fall back on.

Applying for jobs becomes a job itself. You’re always online filling out job applications, and calling and emailing tons of employers. Then you’re coordinating and carting yourself off to all these interviews when you barely have the money for gas anyway. To survive in this job market you have to be competitive and resilient. But when your mental health is struggling it affects every aspect of your life - your relationships, career, and motivation. It can feel almost impossible to keep pushing yourself. Every rejection stings, beats you down. It makes it harder to keep trying. You start asking yourself ‘why won’t anyone hire me? Why won’t anyone see my worth?’ Which eventually translates to, ‘maybe I’m worthless’.

As the weeks of unemployment grow you start losing self-confidence and start feeling like you have no purpose. You spend your days in bed sitting on Indeed and LinkedIn, you start sleeping in and stop getting dressed, because you don’t see a point in trying. You begin to lose all the structure you had in your life as a college student, and instead are replacing it with financial stress.

Not having a job means you’re spending more time trapped at home, which gives your mind all the time in the world to scream at you. You begin wondering why that last employer didn’t see your potential, or how perfect of a fit you were for that position you really wanted. You have all these skills and potential, and you don’t know what to do with them. You have all this free time on your hands, but no motivation to do anything with it – which then makes you feel guilty. And the cycle continues.

You’ve completely lost the support system you’ve had for the past four years. And the feelings of loneliness start to drown you. You start craving attention and affection, which can lead to a road of bad decisions. You can start missing old relationships/exes/friends that you know weren’t good for you. Or you start filling your life with people that aren’t good company, and habits that aren’t necessarily healthy. Many people turn to alcohol, because why not? After months of working your butt off to get a job with nothing to show for it, a tequila shot sounds pretty good right about now. But those choices only make you feel more hollow, and don’t help you feel more successful.

Not to mention, college was a full-time gig that provided a lot of structure and mental exertion. College was an easy way to distract yourself from real life. Now that it’s over you’re forced to face the real world and everything you were running from. And with all the extra time on your hands all you can do is focus on all the obstacles, fears, or traumatic experiences you we’re desperately avoiding during your studies. You’ve spent so much time avoiding everything, that you’re not even sure how to face anything.

Life starts to feel like this stage will never end. Your mind starts to feel like your enemy, because you know it’s holding you back but you also don’t know how to fix it. Talking about depression at any point in life is hard, but it’s especially hard when you feel like you should be living the high life and instead can barely keep your head above water. No one else is talking about post-graduate depression, so why should you? You feel alone, and are scared to make yourself vulnerable by admitting that truth. You don’t want to seem weak, you don’t want to feel weak.

But here’s the truth: you are not alone in this struggle, and you don’t always have to be strong. It’s okay to admit you’re struggling, and seek help.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.

101385

While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

875

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.

24625

When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

8088

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

3998

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

3400
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.

1996

Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Guide To Being A Latinx And Hispanic Community Ally

Educate and celebrate their culture to lift the community up.

2138

It's well known that the Gen-Z and millennial generations are more passionate about social justice and conscious about their decisions as consumers as any other generation to come before us.

For these generations, making mindful decisions about where we like to allocate our money, who we choose to follow on Instagram, and even the books we like to read are extremely important to us. With the rise of the digital age, we are constantly consuming media and content, and so there's no longer an excuse for being uneducated if we want to be educated on a wide range of cultures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments