We all know that students can suffer from mental ill-health at university – but what about post-graduation depression? Uni is supposed to be the best 3 years of your life, so when it is over it is no wonder graduates are living with depression and anxiety about what’s to come.
“Enjoy it while it lasts” and “make the most of it – time goes so fast” are both examples of a plethora of clichés that potential and current students are constantly blasted with, but it isn’t doing their mental health any good.
What happens once these best 3 years of glory days are over? The mortarboard is on and there’s a row of students smiling ear to ear, clutching their certificates showcasing years’ worth of hard work, hangovers and great experiences?
But what happens next?
Some post grads end up living with depression and anxiety. One in four students suffer depression once their studies finish and this because they feel they have no purpose anymore; they are thrown into the big wide world with a piece of paper and the best knowledge being how to pre drink in 15 minutes.
One of the main causes of post grad blues is moving back home. This is because it feels like a step backwards; a regression If you will. Students want to be coming out of university as changed boys and girls who are ready to take the world by storm, so by moving back in with mummy and daddy they feel they have become children again. Students are sad to have gone back to a world where they become dependent and restricted; lacking the funds to move out.
Post-university depression is nothing like the aftermath of a party. It is a serious matter in dire need of addressing. There is plenty of help for students who either feel like they have lost their independence or that fear change and the unknown.
Studying for a degree is hard enough and it brings its own stresses and hardships, and students should not be disheartened or discouraged by anyone who devalues what they are doing. I believe it should be acknowledged that help is within reach, if the post-university prospects do not exceed or live up to expectations that students may have for their futures, so post grads don’t feel alone.
Here are a couple things to consider to tackle post grad blues:
1. Speak to a family member or friend so they understand how you are feeling.
2. Understand that it is completely normal to come away from university without a grad job straight away
3. Seek medical help or guidance. There are plenty of self-help platforms such as The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). The BACP stresses that feeling restricted because you are now dependant on your parents with no real structure, and panicking about your future are extremely common and nothing to be scared or ashamed of and they are here to help.
4. Accept that the unknown is scary but also exciting. The next chapter of your life is about to begin!
5. Talk to other graduates: I promise you there are a million other people feeling the same as you.
Life changes and you are sometimes going to be out of control of your own life. Of course, some initial resistance is natural when you become a post grad, but it is really important to allow yourself some time to initially freak out. But then, positively breakdown the aspects to the changing decision or event and mentally assess them with the help of a friend or medical professional.
Remember you are not alone and the post grad blues is common.
Do you agree some post grads have been living with depression and anxiety? If so, let us know in the comments below.
Featured image: www.unsplash.com
Current University Graduate, Hampshire UK