I was one of those people who were so eager to finish college, build up my career, travel the world, and probably settle down when I’m 32. But now I’m awake at 2 in the morning wondering what happened—why I’m nowhere near my dreams nine months after my graduation.
Why does everyone else seem to be doing fine? And then there’s me, smoking on the bathroom floor wondering what I’m doing with my life. Am I not good enough? Am I that unfortunate when it comes to looking for the right jobs? Am I playing all my cards wrong the whole time?
I even wrote this in my journal a month after I graduated last year:
Desperate for answers, I tried to Google stuff up, wondering if there’s someone out there experiencing the same thing. Drowning in anxiety isn’t pretty.
Then I found post-graduation depression in The Washington Post. I couldn’t believe it was actually something.
What is post-graduation depression?
In a nutshell, post-graduation depression is the unearthly feeling of sadness and hopelessness that young adults experience after college. We are forced to act like adults now. And you know how we can’t run away from the responsibilities of adulting.
Post-graduation depression can last up to a few months after graduation. It’s way too difficult to adjust to this new world when reality’s screaming you can’t have it all. Not to mention all my batchmates who regularly post social media stories flashing their new car or their latest travels abroad. While I’m here, stuck in the past, wishing I was still in college.
What Post-Graduation Depression Feels Like
We feel demotivated. We think negative thoughts about our future. We’re having a hard time moving on from the world we lived in college.
It may differ from person to person, but as it turns out, we see ourselves as not good enough because other people are good at pretending their lives are perfect.
In my experience, I feel like my time is always running out. I feel like the real world’s too overwhelming for me to live in. I wish my life was as easy as Friends or How I Met Your Mother, where they just hang out at a cafe or bar every single day.
I wish I didn’t have to compete for my dream job needing three years of experience for an entry-level position. I wish I didn’t have to settle for less, accepting a career path I wasn’t even trained for. Imagine crying on your bus ride home after work, wishing it was all just a dream and you were back in college again.
But I have to pull myself together and move on from this state of denial. We all have to. We need to stop comparing our lives with other people. Life isn’t a competition. This time, there are no cum laude titles to win. Who cares if you have slow pacing?
How to Cope with Post-Graduation Depression
Here are some things I’m doing now to help ease the anxiety:
- Go on a social media detox
- Avoid comparing
- Talk to your friends or loved ones
- Pamper yourself
- Start a new hobby
- Eat healthy
- Start journaling
- Try solo travel
- Seek professional help
Out of these tips, living a life without social media really worked for me. I didn’t do the detox until two years after and I wish I did it sooner. I haven’t gone back since.
I’m not a health professional so I can’t say what works and not, but all I can say is—at the end of the day, we need to keep going.
And if you’re reading this—if you’ve read every word I wrote up until this last sentence, desperate for answers as I was, I hope this post can help make sense of how you’re feeling. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.