How to get over graduate blues

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.

Image describing the statistics found for graduate mental health
Results from a study of graduates

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
Setting yourself some new goals for learning can help you get over grad blues

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*

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Fransic verso

    I’m actually yet to be graduated and this is really good. I will keep these tips in my mind after I finish my university. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Maddie

      I hope these tips can be helpful to you! Thank you for your comment 🙂

  2. I stumbled across this post and it was everything I needed right now. I’ve graduated since July 2019 and I’m feeling so lost. I thought it was just me and not knowing what I want in life but I’m actually happy I’m not the only one experiencing this! I think the biggest struggle to me is losing “your purpose of life” since my goal was to graduate and now I’ve reached it, I’m like “what now??” It sounds weird but it’s a horrible feeling. I think after reading this, the biggest thing I need to change is my mindset.

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips, it was much needed and you really helped me!

    xoxo Simone |

    1. Maddie

      I’m so glad I could help you to realise that you aren’t alone at all in feeling this way. There are so many people experiencing the same thing and not enough is out there to support them. I feel exactly the same as you, wondering what route I’m supposed to take now. I hope you begin to work things out but just know that it isn’t a quick or easy process. Just keep doing what you’re doing and being you and you’ll be okay! xo

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad they were helpful to you! That’s great, I’ll check it out – thank you 🙂

  3. amymayj

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I found this so relatable. I had a really rubbish time after graduation (following an equally rubbish time at university) and my mental health really struggled. I ended up in my “stop gap” job for 5 years and over that period I felt so depressed and was also angry at myself for not doing as well as my friends or other people who were on my course. I’ve since moved onto another job (completely unrelated to my degree) that has ignited my passion for writing and is the drive behind setting up my blog so things are much better now thankfully. I completely agree that it’s so important not to compare yourself to how others are doing, it’s easier said than done of course but it can really tear you down! Xx

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad you could relate to this and enjoyed reading it. I’m sorry to hear that you had a rubbish time after graduating, it can be so easy to compare yourself to others during this time. It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying your new job and have found a passion with your blog. Thanks for your honest comment xx

  4. Courtney

    I remember when I left uni it did feel weird to get thrown into a big wide world, with your uni friends no longer around you! But I can say it definitely gets better after a year or so! Great post! 🙂

    1. Maddie

      I agree! That’s great to know – thank you ☺️

  5. John Aiwone

    Thanks for sharing this. Whilst I didn’t necessarily suffer from the graduation blues youve described I can relate with the fact that I didnt walk into my dream job straight after Uni, going through routine changes and not seeing certain people ever again, the people you’ve shared flats and lecture rooms with for the best part of 3+ years with. How I think I coped with life after Uni (or even education) was taking on new hobbies and challenges like blogging and travelling and looking back I think they helped me fill a void that would’ve been left by not being in education anymore.

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

    1. Maddie

      Thanks so much for your comment – it’s really interesting to hear your experience of this! I totally agree about using your time to blog and travel, I feel like that’s how I’m coping with the change myself! Thanks Johnny! ☺️

  6. Lisa Alioto

    Great recognition of a very real situation! ANd excellent tips!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much 😊

  7. This is really well put together! I could have used this when I graduated, I just ended up going back to school lol

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! That sounds great too though ☺️

  8. heidislo

    This is a great post and something I think a lot of people can relate to. Especially in our current environment.

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much ☺️

  9. This is so accurate! I felt so lonely after finishing uni and I didn’t want to do any activities because ‘it was weird’.

    I then realised I was being stupid and joined a local sports team!

    Anddd then covid happened lol.

    1. Maddie

      Oh no, it’s such a terrible time for recent graduates, especially those that were just starting to enjoy things post uni! Sorry to hear that 🙁

  10. Violet Jones

    This was a great read. I finish uni in a few weeks and it’s a weird feeling. I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow, let alone for the rest of my life 😂

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s odd to think about, but definitely don’t put any pressure on yourself about it!

Let me know your thoughts...