Brighton Girl Guide: How To Overcome The Post-Grad Blues
The thing no one tells you about achieving a degree is the abyss you're most likely to fall in once your glorious three to four years at university are over. And do you blame them? If you are a post-graduate, old or new, you probably know the dark hole I am talking about. If you're still studying, don't worry your time will come.
For some, dare I say most, this will be the first time you have been out of education, the first time your life has had no concrete direction. You won't be occupied and comforted by the fact you don't have to worry “what is it you want to do with your life?”, because you're just not there yet.
If you're naïve like I was, you probably thought a degree was enough to get you something relatively decent in your desired field. Again, if you were naïve like I was, you will realise you were wrong.
So, let's not focus on the doom and gloom here, we have enough of that going on at the moment, and let's talk about how to pull yourself out of that blue post-graduate feeling. Or at least attempt to begin.
The uni bubble is real, and once that warm and safe bubble is popped, life can feel frankly a bit frightening. Let me start by saying it's not helpful, and quite fortunately very unrealistic, to be thinking that you will now be in one job until you die. Your first job, or current job, once graduation is done, will most definitely not be the one you really want and it sure as heck doesn't have to be. Use this time to find jobs that you just enjoy and that's it, and honestly, you'll be lucky to find that.
It's great if you can find a job that might assist you in getting to wherever you want to be, wherever that is. Even finding something that's going to provide you with transferable skills, skills that will open your mind and better you as a person or even something that just gives you a meaning to get out of bed in the morning is a great start.
Which by the way will probably suck for the first couple of months, but you quickly get used to that. Whatever job you do find, because you will have to unless your parents are loaded, always be positive because there will be something you will take from it, even if you can't recognise it just yet. And just remember: It's not forever.
How about finding yourself a hobby? You've probably been ordered to do this many times, but it's amazing how genuinely rewarding and meaningful the right hobby can be. From something more time consuming like picking up an instrument or learning a language, to rock climbing, cycling, writing or even scrap booking.
It sounds lame, but it's so therapeutic. No one's saying you have to do it religiously either! Doing something for merely an hour a week is better than nothing. You have more hours in the day than you think, and it might even help you figure out what your real calling in life is.
Life after learning can actually feel pretty isolating. Especially, if a bunch of your university friends have moved away. That comforting collectivism of campus has disappeared completely, and your general contact with people, e.g. tutors, course mates, those library acquaintances, is reduced.
It can help bringing back that sense of being a part of something bigger by getting associated with the community, if you will. This might include Brighton Girl Meet-Ups, volunteering somewhere, going to a social club or meetings that interest you, going to see your nan more often or how about getting involved in campaigning, if you want to be really Brighton about it.
Something that may really bring back your sense of self is reconnecting with old friends. Obviously, not the ones that are old friends for a reason, but the ones you kind of just fizzled out with because of life getting in the way. Going back to your roots can ironically help you feel a bit more settled about where you're going, and a bit of familiarity never hurt anyone.
It might also help to chat with them and see how they're getting on with “adult” life. Planning something fun with the old gang could be a way to lift your spirits and remind you that you're still so young and still have so much to look forward to!
When it boils down to it, there are ultimately a few key things to take from how you might be feeling and that is: you're not alone, this is only temporary, and there is more to life than academia and your career. Focus on living for now and feel lucky that now is the time where the world is your oyster, you can deal with the serious stuff later...
Written by Becky Waldron