By this time, most college students who are a part of the Class of 2017 have graduated, celebrated their accomplishments, got gifts from their families, and everyone who’s important already congratulated them for doing such an amazing thing such as graduating college and getting their degree.
But now the festivities are now over and you’re left wondering: “now what?” You’re now anxious because you have no sense of direction of your life, the options while finding a job to accompany your career are slim to none, and you’re expected to start paying back student loans in six months. You find yourself literally in a fetal position, not wanting to do anything because you’re still exhausted from the last year of college you had, yet you feel like you have to get up and do something because you believe your life is meaningless now that you’re not in school anymore.
This, my fellow recent grads, is what you call “post-grad depression.”
I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree a year ago, and although I had grad school lined up for me already, it didn’t stop people questioning what I was going to do in the months before the Fall, and where I was heading. I had a person tell me once that they believed graduates who have their degrees and didn’t do anything with them afterward were pathetic and lazy. Now I didn’t take that as shade towards me because I had plans thank you very much, but there are people who graduate and still don’t have jobs that fall under what they studied in college. Just because a girl who studied business is working in Victoria’s Secret now doesn’t mean they aren’t “using their degrees”. Finding a job that pays well and falls under your studies isn’t easy, and I singlehandedly know the feeling. I graduated as an English major, but most English majors in my department were lining up to be teachers whereas I wasn’t. As much as I want to believe in it, writers don’t do much in the world anymore unless they write for magazines and online articles, which really falls under journalism and journalism nowadays is defined as creating an article of a current event by taking screenshots of tweets from random people on Twitter discussing the issue at hand. It’s no shade to journalists, but the “Buzzfeed” of the world is making you guys (and writers) look bad. But that’s a different topic for a different post.
What I’m trying to say is: it’s not easy to walk outta college with your cap and gown and into an office desk, because there’s a chance there are a million of other recent graduates who are looking to do the same thing.
Graduating college is a blessing and a curse, in all honesty. It’s a blessing because it takes hard-work, dedication, motivation, and determination to go through four intense years of college courses. You dream of the day where you are able to get a cap and gown and finally say that you did it and when the day finally comes, it comes and goes. My graduation day– although one of the greatest days I’ve had– went by crazy fast, and when you finally leave the college to go and celebrate, you kind of just sit there and go “was that it?” It’s sad because graduations tend to always feel like that, but every graduation before your college one is followed up by a plan: you level up in our education. College, though, is a choice if you wanna continue with your education and although I decided to continue mine, many people decide not to. So then you really ask yourself “now what?” The truth is that we all know how to be students; up to this point, we’ve been in school for 18 years of our lives (from 4 to roughly 22). Once we graduate, we enter this “culture shock” where you’re not studying for exams or reading books for class or writing final papers, you’re an adult in life, and most of us don’t know how to transition from “student” to “everyday adult”. It’s scary, it’s unfamiliar, and when not getting jobs is the new norm, it’s damn right frustrating. It’s depressing, and many of us don’t know how to handle it.
I wish this was a post about how to overcome this, but sadly I’ve dealt with this (and somewhat still dealing with it). I feel like many people go to grad school because they can’t give up being a student yet.
Personally, I went to get my Master’s because I didn’t have a plan straight out of college, but I also wanted to get a second degree. Yeah, I’m still doing student things and all of that, but that ends next year, and I’ll soon be on that “post-grad GRAD depression”, asking myself “now what?” Even every now and then, I get this wave of sadness because I feel lost within myself. I love what I study and I love what I do, but the thought of graduating with my Masters next year is frightening and something I am not trying to rush. Yeah, it’s going to be surreal to be wearing a Masters Gown and going to graduation next year, but I know that the cycle that I was on last year after undergrad is going to kick in once again. Shoot, it’s kind of kicking in now as we speak about it.
Honestly, all I can say is that you need to take care of yourself if you’re dealing with something like this.
- Just because you’re taking a break does not mean you’re lazy or pathetic. Just because you don’t know exactly where to start doesn’t mean you’re doomed.
- Things take time, and I believe if you get your head out of that mindset that “moves need to be made now”, you’ll be fine in the long run.
- Take your time in adjusting to the real world.
- If you’re in grad school, live in your present and handle those grades and classes you have.
- If you’re now home from being away from college for four years, take some time to find yourself again in your hometown; you spent 4 years of your life making somewhere else your home. Rediscover the beauty that is your hometown.
- If you’re trying to get on your feet, get a low-stakes job. Just because it’s not a job that will make you all the money in the world, doesn’t mean that you can’t take it. Low-stakes jobs are pocket-change you make while trying to redefine yourself.
- Get your platform started. Even though I’m still in school, I chose to do TNTH because I needed a creative outlet in between writing academic-driven papers in grad school. It’s a platform where I can be myself, talk as myself, and write things that manner to me the most. Although I don’t find myself taking TNTH on a professional level, it’s still an escape I have where I can totally be myself, yet do something productive that helps you in the long run.
Honestly, nobody has their life set in stone after college graduation. Stop believing that you have to have your shit together in order to feel validated and successful. Success takes time and work, and I know once those post-grad blues begin to linger, you’ll be back on your feet making moves that make YOU happy, not because society expects you to.