Let’s talk about something that a lot of people will be feeling right now, but what some people may not take seriously – post-university depression. (I’d describe it as an overwhelming sadness that a chapter of your life has ended when you were just settling into it and all you may feel is stress, anxiety and confusion on what happens next.)
There is no denying that university can cause an increase in poor mental health. However, leaving university, is no exception to this; it just spins the web further into ‘what the fuck is going on?’ where am I? Who am I?’ and I guess it gets to a point where we just need to laugh it off and power through.
University can be the best years of your young adult life. We’re independent, but not, we’re getting ‘free-ish’ money and an interest free overdraft, we’re probably drunk all the time and we make new friends everyday. We are on an adventure of self-discovery but we’re human and a lot of us don’t truly realise the greatness of what we have until it’s gone; and university will slip out your hands quicker than jelly (or something.)
I remember my first year of university in a seminar we watched a few scenes from The Graduate, I then went onto watch the whole film myself and now since finishing university I relate to and understand this film on a whole new level.
Us post student-adults need some kind of halfway house equivalent that’s not our parents’ house, to help us get our heads together on this absolute nonsense known as ‘the real world’.
It’s all the same; we all cry about having no money, struggle to find a job of some kind and then probably go travelling.
Travelling is our halfway house (but a very expensive one that some of us have to wait to go and do).
I’ve got to say to you adult-adults there’s a lot of pressure on us student-adults to wake up and be adults and I’ve got to tell you, that’s not how the cookie crumbles. We are 22 and most of us haven’t the foggiest of what to do and how to do it. I was surer of myself before I started university than after I came out of it. And the pressure that we can feel can make the journey of self-discovery incredibly unbearable. We’re not terrible people, we’re not lazy, we’re just a little bit lost and that needs to be seen as okay.
I’m not going to lie, there are some people who just have their shit together; before they’ve even finished university they’ve sorted a job, a house and a little money but this doesn’t mean they still don’t feel a little bit dazed and blinded by the real world.
I would say that the post-university blues make you feel as though you have gone back. At university it feels as though you are getting some kind of independence; you’re finding out who you are, what you like, what you don’t and the kind of person you want to become. But then you may go back home and realise this just is not who you are anymore and you may be constantly pressured to just become an adult and have everything together.
But adulthood and maturity comes with experience and a lot of mistakes.
There are 40 year olds who don’t have a clue what they want to do with their lives, and that is ok, so it should be the same for us post-uni students.
As someone who had a teary breakdown this morning to their sister, don’t let the pressure of the real world determine what you think you should do. Take a deep breath. Take your time. Because no matter who is advising you what to do, no matter what identity turmoil you may be in, it is your life. Remember that. You’re the one who’s going to have to live it. So do what you think is right.
Don’t rush yourself.
If you know what you want but don’t know how to go about it yet, fine, take your time. If you want a job to tide you over before you get the job you really want, fine. If you need money, apply for any job you can to get the money you need, sorted. If you want to travel and have a few savings but aren’t sure whether to go, just do it. Nothing has to be permanent.
The university chapter of your life may have ended.
You’re just adjusting to the change.
None of us knew what to expect in the real world, but let me tell you a secret, no one ever does; even the most adulty-adults don’t really have a clue. The world is different everyday.
No matter how old you are, no matter what you’ve seen or done, we’re all just trying to find out who we are and what we want.
Don’t fear the unknown.
Try and enjoy it.
The world is at your feet.