Life after college isn’t always what we imagine it to be. Some graduates are lucky and have jobs immediately or soon after graduation. Others are not so lucky. They look and look and go on interview after interview. Months pass and still no full-time job with benefits.
Clearly, you’d like to be the graduate with a job right out of college. But either graduate has the potential to experience what we call graduation depression. This term is not a clinical term used by the American Psychiatric Association, but it is a term many therapist use to describe a sadness after such a large part of your life ends. Many students have been in school since they were five years old, no breaks in between. That’s an average of 20 years of life spent in a classroom learning, meeting new people and getting graded.
Suddenly, you’ve graduated. Your scheduled life of class, studying, maybe working a part-time job have officially come to a stop. It’s no wonder you feel lost after graduation, a huge part of your life has just ended. And there you stand, with a piece of paper, or two, in your hand that you paid some serious money for. “Now what?” you think to yourself. There’s no “exit” class in college. Few people, if any, discuss what to do after college. Do you find a job ASAP to start paying bills, those dreaded student loans? Do you hold out to find your “dream job” the one that you can’t wait to wake up to everyday?
Millennials are told from day one, you can be anything! “Great!” you think, but how? Now you’re an adult with a college degree and no direction. You look to your peers and they are either doing just as bad as you but hide it and instead post online about how happy they are, or, they are doing well and sharing their success. At this point, you’re comparing yourself to them, and that only makes matters worse.
Graduation depression is real, regardless of whether the APA acknowledges it at this point or not. Graduation depression is complicated and specific to each individual experiencing it. Maybe your situation is not exactly as described above, but you still feel a sadness, a loss, confusion. My suggestion is to seek a professional for help, these feelings are real and despite what Facebook says, you are not alone.