You aren’t alone if you’re experiencing negativity after university. Statistics suggest that around 49% of graduates experience some kind of poor mental health following graduation. It’s a really difficult time but there are ways of getting over the ‘graduate blues’.
Finishing university is a really odd experience as it brings about the end of education; something that has defined our lives since we were four. When this all comes to an end, we can see our routines and stable friendships go out the door too.
Remember, you aren’t alone if you’re experiencing sadness after university
These feelings can last for years after we leave uni but it’s often the first year that is the hardest to adjust to. Maybe you’d been convinced that you’d walk straight into your dream job, would go out for drinks with your friends every other night or still feel that comforting sense of purpose. The first few months or even year after you graduate can be a really confusing time as the ‘real world’ starts to pick up pace.
It’s totally normal to experience graduate blues, which may stem from loneliness, unemployment, stress from work (which you can find out more about here) or feeling odd about moving back home. These are all things that graduates should receive help for but rarely do.
So how can you stay positive during a time which makes it so easy to get caught up in negative thinking? Here are some tips to help with getting over graduate blues when you don’t really know where to start.
Know that you aren’t stuck
It may feel like you’ve signed your life away when you start a new job and have to do 9-5 or shift work, but always remember that you aren’t stuck there forever.
Jobs will be tough at times and you’ll probably find some aspects of work quite stressful. However when it comes to a point where you no longer want to work somewhere, maybe you’ve exhausted all of your learning opportunities or it’s just not making you happy anymore, then you are allowed to leave.
Granted, you can’t really change your job role or industry that often and you may have to stick out a few rubbish jobs to make ends meet but it isn’t the end of the world if you stop enjoying your work.
Stop comparing yourself to others
If you find yourself feeling more stressed or anxious after using social media and seeing other people’s success post-uni, then perhaps the root of the issue is comparing yourself to others. In this case, it’s okay to take a step back from social media entirely or by muting/unfollowing certain accounts that make you feel a bit rubbish.
Take the plunge
Some graduates may spend weeks, months or even years being hesitant to start a job because it doesn’t seem like the perfect next step. It’s a difficult thing to apply for a job that you think you might like, solely based on what you liked at school or what your degree subject was, but it could be the best thing you ever do.
At least by starting a job of any kind you’re opening yourself to opportunities, such as gaining valuable skills, making new friends and, of course, you’re earning money. So next time something looks good for you, go for it!
Start something new
It’s difficult when we stop learning full-time as this is something we’ve done since we were kids and then suddenly there isn’t much of that left. Some of us may find ourselves in jobs that we need extra training for or in a line of work that means we learn new things everyday. However this doesn’t always equate to the level of education we’ve received for so many years before.
So why not start something new to work towards? This could give you lots of great experiences, a chance to make friends and also help you think less about how much you miss university. Have a look in your area/online to see if you could:
- Learn a new language
- Do some training relevant to your industry
- Do some training relevant to your hobbies and interests
- Start a new hobby or sport
- Start a small business on the side
Ask for help
If you’re struggling after university, for whatever reason, you can find help for it and it’s really important that you do ask. It isn’t a sign of weakness and, considering the statistics, graduate blues are really common.
Your university will have a careers service that will be able to talk you through your careers options and give you advice on preparing for applications and interviews. Or if you’re finding that you are really affected mentally by the change, speak to your GP or an online service such as Samaritans.
Overall, leaving university and the comfort of education is very difficult. Mostly, it is all about changing your mindset; looking at your new adult life as an opportunity to do a whole range of exciting things and still developing every day.
When you started out after graduating, what do you wish you had known? Leave your thoughts below in the comments and help other graduates out!
*This post is intended as general advice, please make an informed decision, considering many factors, before doing anything*