Post Grad Blues

funny-sad-truck-head-downIn that past few months, thousands of bright eyed graduates crossed the threshold between the safe and predictable realm of academia, to the tumultuous ‘real world’.

This is an understandably stressful period for many post-grads. Reality sinks in as you realize that not only have you not created a multimillion dollar app, but you don’t even have any decent job prospects. This is all compounded by the doom and gloom currently surrounding the job market  and other factors like moving back in with Mom&Dad and leaving your closest friends.

University is characterized by structure, routine, and a set grade-based reward system. Life is uncomplicated, and success is easy to qualify. This all changes after graduation. Validation becomes more difficult to procure, money doesn’t seem to exist (especially if you’ve taken on more debt than you can shake a stick at), and you have to sleep on a couch because your parents changed your old bedroom into a ‘work-space’.  Disillusionment follows, and some people even develop a condition termed “post-college depression”.

This affliction is relatively common, and is generally theorized to be the result of unrealistic expectations, financial and social pressure and lack of identifiable direction in life. Psychologists, like Dr. Victor Schwarts, even caution friends and family members to look out for signs of this ailment, as it can develop into perpetual feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, despair, frustration and even lead to clinical depression. Additionally, it can result in sleeplessness, chronic stress and an inability to concentrate, which all worsen an already woeful situation.

 

Fortunately, not everybody suffers this post grad depression, but more of a blues accompanied life transition type of deal, which is common in multiple critical junctures throughout life.

So, how does one sidestep staggering apathy? or worse yet, full blown worthlessness? *First, determine some goals. Visualize where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years time – and how you expect to get there. No clue where you want to be, or what you want to do? Lock yourself in a room until you find out what motivates you, even if it ends up being temporary. Also, use resources (that includes people) at your disposal like your university career centre, or online sources.

*Cultivate some hobbies. Things we do for free are probably things we would like to be paid for as well. Maybe you decide you love fitness, or coding, or inventing things, or writing – these activities can actually lead to careers.

*Surround yourself with optimistic, interesting people. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once noted that you are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. With that in mind, don’t spend time with incessant downers and negative Nellies.

*Don’t believe every news article that forecasts bleak job market outlooks

Finally, the real world is what YOU make of it. Author David Foster gave an outstanding commencement speech a few years back on this notion, and the importance of choice and awareness in everyday life. Here’s a snippet that I think all graduates could benefit from.

 

 

 

 

 

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