Statistics show that 1 in 4 students suffer from depression during their time at university, but there are no official statistics that exist for graduates in the post-university transition. Today the topic and conversations around mental health are growing however, there is still a little talk around post-graduate depression.
I had all these big plans of what I wanted to do after I graduate. I thought I would land my dream job straight away and earn lots of money. Yes, I thought it would be as easy as that. Welcome to reality! In fact, this is the case for many students. You are not guaranteed an amazing job, with a good title and a good salary or even a job that relates to the degree that you have just worked three years for. Unless you are lucky and secure some graduate scheme months before graduation.
Graduation day was coming closer and closer and it kept me up at night. Don’t get me wrong graduation day was the best day of my life. It was the fact that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life and when a family member asked, ‘what’s the plan now that you have finished university’. I literally just wanted to scream.
During my final year of university, I had plans of what I wanted to do after graduation and where I wanted to be. So, the time came, and I started filling out job applications and sending my resumes out hoping that someone would get back to me. I had a few job interviews for which I applied for knowing full well that they are very competitive and most likely impossible. I received rejection after rejection apparently you need five years’ experience for an entry-level job in the field you are interested in. I’m sorry but between studying full-time and balancing a part-time job how do they expect us to have clocked up work experience. Basically, you need experience to get experience. It got to the point where I stopped applying for jobs ‘what is the point I’m only going to get rejected’. To be fair there is only so much rejection you can take.
How do you pick yourself up when you have hit rock bottom?
You may be still working at your part-time job that you had at university which is okay. You have a little income coming in or consider joining an agency for temporary work. I know how frustrating this can be but, at the end of the day, it’s experience that you can add to your resume and it’s not going to look great having a big gap between graduating university and a graduate job.
Here are five things to remember if like me you are going through post-graduate depression
- Don’t compare yourself to others: Looking through Facebook, twitter and seeing all those that you graduated with securing graduate jobs can be so depressing and put you down so much. Remember just because they have secured a graduate job and you haven’t (yet) that doesn’t mean that you are a failure.
- Careers advice: I’m not sure if many graduates are told this but, seek help from your universities careers advice. Your university will continue to support you after graduation and there are many services and support available to you. Including careers advice, careers fairs, workshops, jobs, and internships.
- Talk to someone: Talk to a friend, family member or counsellor and explain how you are feeling.
- It’s going to be okay: It might not seem like it but, it’s going to be okay, you will find a job. Don’t give up.
- You are not alone: You’ll be surprised as to how many people are going through the exact same situation as you.