Depression after university [beat the graduate blues]

Sep 25, 2019

Experiencing depression after university is a lot more common than you may think. So if you are suffering from post-university depression you are not alone and help is available. 

You’re not alone         

If you’ve got a case of graduate blues, it is important to know that you are not alone. 

Many other graduates are in the same boat as you. 

In fact, there’s an interesting post on the BBC news site entitled “graduates ‘need mental health support’”.

The article features a recent graduate who experienced a low period after graduating, moving back home and struggling to find a job after university

Cosmopolitan has also written a post on post-university depression where they feature a graduate reporting similar feelings. She graduate explains going from feeling elated about earning her degree to being abruptly thrown into the real world. 

Therapist Bernard Luskin explains that symptoms of depression and anxiety might occur just before or after graduation. It may also begin a few months after graduation once the initial euphoria has worn off as graduates settle successfully into their new routines.

Why are you feeling this way 

Here are three reasons why you might be experiencing depression after university: 

  • Adapting to change can be uncomfortable
  • The fear of the unknown is making you feel down
  • Your friends seem to have it all together

Let’s delve into each of these reasons a bit more.

Dealing with change after university

Everyone adapts to change differently. 

Finishing your degree and moving back home is a huge change. 

For the past 3-4 years of your life, you’ve been following a timetable, hanging out with uni friends and in a way living in the student bubble. 

Once you’ve celebrated your graduation and settled into adulthood, it will be time to enter the working world and start your graduate career. 

Fearing the unknown after university

Leaving university presents a big question – what will you do next? Many graduates report feeling lost after graduation.

Not knowing what your next steps are, and feeling the pressure of earning money can make some graduates feel down. 

Up until now, education has provided structure, routine and security. You knew exactly what was expected of you and what you needed to do in order to succeed.

Essentially, it became your comfort zone and now you that have vanished. 

If you need help figuring out your next steps after university, check out our graduate coaching programme.

Comparing yourself to your friends 

In this social media age, it is difficult to not start comparing your life to the life others present on social media. 

If it seems as though all of your friends are thriving in great graduate jobs and having a good time whilst you are at home desperately filling out job applications it can make you feel down. 

But it is important to put this into perspective and stay focused on your own journey. 

What help is available for graduates experiencing depression after university? 

Depression can be classified as being mild, moderate or severe. 

First of all, if you are worried about your mental health and are struggling, get help. 

Your GP will be able to advise you on your treatment options. You can also find out more about clinical depression on the NHS website.  

What can I do to improve my mood? 

There are quite a few different things that you can do to lift your mood. 

Stay active 

beat depression after university

If you have moved back home and you haven’t yet started working, don’t just sit at home watching the days go by. 

Make a habit of going out for a walk or going to the gym to stay active. 

Exercise has been shown to help people who are struggling with depression. Many people report that exercise helps them to feel good.

If you are suffering from post-graduation blues, get active. You could join your local gym, jog around your area or even do gentle exercises at home.

Maintain your social life 

It was a see you later, not goodbye when you parted ways with your university friends!

A lot of students make lifelong friends during their time at university. 

Now that you have left university, it is important not to isolate yourself. 
Be sure to spend time with family, friends and your support network.

Even though you may have very different schedules to your friends, schedule in some time to meet up and do something that you enjoy. 

Get help with securing the right graduate job for you. 

Not knowing what career path is right for you after university can be distressing. 

Applying for job after job with no success can be discouraging. 

Continually failing interviews can have a negative impact on your confidence and self-esteem. 

If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s time to get some help. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we help students and recent graduates secure their dream jobs. 

We’ve helped hundreds of graduates who have experienced feeling down after university due to not being able to find a job.

We have also helped graduates who finished uni years ago and have been underemployed in jobs that did not require a degree. We also help graduates who have found themselves unemployed after uni.

We offer a wide range of services including: 

  • Online courses
  • Books
  • One-to-one coaching
  • Interview Coaching

We also have a wide range of resources that have been designed to help students, graduates and career changers. 

Can your university help? 

In 2017 the student mental health charity, Student Minds distributed a press release stating that universities could do more to prepare students for the transition out of university. 

With that said, as alumni, your university might be able to help you.

Universities have resources for helping people with a wide range of mental health issues.

It is worth finding out more about the alumni services and network at your university.

Depression after university: summary

The transition from education to employment can be easy for some and extremely difficult for others. 

If you find that you are experiencing a mild bout of depression after university, try some of the self-help tips in this post. 

If you are particularly concerned about your mental health, visit your GP who will be able to advise you. 

Help is available and you don’t need to go through this alone. 

Remember to get in touch with us if you are struggling with your graduate job hunt!

We’ll help you to transition from education to the world of work successfully.

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