After all my assignments came to an end, as many students do I had a few weeks of going on day time and night time adventures with my friends. All of a sudden, before I knew it, they were all off home. And that was it. University had ended. An overwhelming sadness crept over me.
At the beginning of university everyone raves about it being the “best years of your life!” Now the best years of my life are over, I find myself unemployed and in debt with no home friends to go back to as my parents moved 200 miles from Scotland back down to England. I found the days after my friends left Newcastle very hard and confusing. I found it difficult to leave bed or have any motivation to do anything. I literally contacted everyone I could because I felt like my social life had halted. I was concentrating on the few people I know that have life plans and critising myself against them. Having not felt this down all year, I realised this wasn’t a normal attitude I had and took to Google (not usually recommended, but hey it helped) and searched ‘post-graduation depression.’ Millions of results popped up. And there we go, I was not alone AT ALL.
That’s what I’ve learnt along the way; when you feel alone, you’re usually not.
Not only are there multiple forums to look at but great articles such as the one by Clare Dyckhoff from the Independent – Graduation blues: why we need to talk about post-unviversity depression. I would just like to clarify that I do not think that I experienced depression on this occasion, just a short term sadness, but it made me feel for those who have more serious mental health issues and what they must go through when their university career ends. Clare explains how as a society in general we have realised there is problems with mental health throughout university but what about when it ends? The university often offers helplines when the students are studying but are they there for alumni when it’s all over? There is no doubt that awareness needs to be drawn to post-graduation depression in the media so that those who suffer from it can feel less alone and receive the help they need.
Now I have received my results (a solid 2.1 wooooo!!), I realise that my life doesn’t end after university. Most people I know don’t have a graduate job set up, and those who do it is often from family connections. A lot of people are taking a year out before heading into the stressful working world and many are pursuing further education. I have come to realise your twenties is the perfect opportunity to discover what you want to do with your life and deciding independently of anyone else’s opinions and expectations. I have my whole life ahead of me to work. I am lucky enough to be born in a country where I have a choice over what I do and therefore I am going to seize this privileged position I am in which many others would love to take advantage of.
I have applied for a MA in Human Geography Research, which I have received a scholarship for. I am yet to make my final decision for next year, but I have realised that whatever I end up doing, I don’t have to commit to that forever.
I hope this puts off the pressure a bit for some of you in a similar situation. Expectations are higher than ever for our generation with many more people receiving degrees than ever before and a growing population leaving jobs sparse unless you have an incredible CV. At the end of the day I thought; would I really be happy with a 9 to 5 job? If I was extremely passionate about it, I’m sure I would. But for as of right now, I am still discovering my opportunities and excited for what’s to come.