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Graduation blues: what now?

June 7, 2024

What is post-graduation depression? 

Post-graduation depression, also called graduation blues, is a period where recent graduates experience symptoms of depression. Although post-graduation depression isn’t medically recognized as a psychological disorder, it is a period that students may undergo. When our post-grad life does not go as planned, we often feel discomfort and regret in our life decisions. While we ponder the what-ifs and scrutinize our previous choices throughout our university journey, we lose focus on our current situation. In addition, students may experience distress during this time due to financial problems, routine changes, and shifts in social circles.

Red And Black Graduation GIF by Washington & Jefferson College

Symptoms associated with post-graduation depression

Graduation blues symptoms overlap with symptoms of depression, with few being more distinct than others. Recognizing that graduation blues exist for a specific period after university is essential. If symptoms persist long-term, seeking medical assistance for further support is recommended. 

These symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the individual and their circumstances. They experience poor concentration, feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, increased sadness, lack of motivation, poor sleep hygiene, changes in appetite/weight, low energy, and thoughts of suicide. These symptoms can significantly impact a person's lifestyle, physically and emotionally.

Why do you feel lost?

When you feel lost, you may feel numb and helpless, as if you no longer have your old spark. Unsure of how to approach your future as a post-graduate, you may find yourself in a stage where you constantly think negatively. 

Feeling uncertain about yourself and the change in routine elevates fear. It’s essential to recognize why you might be experiencing graduation blues. Whether it’s feeling doubtful about your future or dwelling on your past life, your situation may improve if you can effectively address it. Common reasons why people experience post-graduation depression can be due to unemployment, financial stress, and loss of friendships. 

This immense pressure gets placed on students. They’re expected to start their “new lives” immediately, whether that involves starting their careers or seeking further education. When leaving university, you undergo a major life transition. Recognizing this shift, it’s okay to pause! Rather than feeling inadequate in yourself, be kind and prioritize your well-being.

How to overcome this period 

Taking that first step and working on yourself can be increasingly more challenging when you're in a slump. It takes a lot of energy and motivation! However, these small actions can positively affect your overall well-being and health.

Create a routine: Just like when you were in university, create a routine for yourself now. Adding structure can keep you active and motivated in your daily life.

Maintain friendships: As humans, we thrive off of social connections. The friendships we’ve formed in school are valuable and should be prioritized. So it doesn’t hurt to try to stay connected with a few friends!

Eat healthy and balanced meals: Eating nutritious foods can improve overall health and mental and physical well-being.

Exercise: Exercising also benefits your physical and emotional health. You do not need to make an extravagant workout routine! Walking outside daily, for example, is a great practice.

Sleep well: It is crucial that you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can significantly impact your health, leading to long-term consequences that infringe on your performance.

Although these are excellent practices to adopt into your daily life, if you continue to experience symptoms, it’s advised that you contact a medical provider. They can direct you to effective coping strategies and recommend treatment options for your ongoing symptoms.

Your university experience

University is an opportunity for you to grow and learn as an individual. Although you may have feelings of doubt throughout your journey, it’s important to come into this with an open perspective. Your goals can change! Often, the route we initially pursue can go in a completely new direction. That’s what makes a university unique! This experience allows you to discover your career aspirations while forming life-long connections.

If you’re like me and have a long way to go till you graduate, don’t feel discouraged from pursuing new initiatives. By limiting yourself, you may miss out on future opportunities! You have the potential to do a lot, so make the most out of your university experience. Take it easy; you got this!

Graduating Dr Seuss GIF by INTO ACTION


By Sinthura Thuraisingam