OP-Ed – It’s A Wonderful Life: Getting Over Post-Grad Blues

By Undria Wilson | Exclusive To Corridor News

As winter commencement has passed, a new year is upon new graduates who have now entered the real world.

Everyone discusses the excitement of their commencement ceremonies and how surreal the feeling of being a first-generation college student made them feel.

The excitement for that one day is overwhelming yet exhilarating because it is, in fact, a defining moment in one’s life.

Peers are getting engaged, moving to different states and starting new jobs in their field. But what happens to those who aren’t so lucky after graduation?

“Post-graduate depression” is a term by millennials that defines feeling loss of motivation, helplessness, and isolation due to constant change and overabundance of choices.

This feeling of anxiety and uncertainty into one’s future can hinder one’s overall outlook on life.

According to forbes.com, the unemployment rate after graduation is at an all-time high.

To make matters worse, students who majored in certain disciplines such as media, liberal arts, criminal justice and performing arts faced an unemployment rate of 6 percent. In contrast, the current unemployment rate is 3.6 percent.

To translate, recent graduates suffer when they choose career paths that are not in demand in today’s economy.

Another dealbreaker in one’s life is the fear of rejection from jobs. Although a few lucky graduates easily find jobs soon after graduation, it can be stressful for a student who waits longer to hear good news.

Job rejection can take a toll on one’s self-esteem and mentality, especially if you’re a job seeker in a competitive industry.

According to thewashingtonpost.com, recent research suggests that millennials have the highest rates of depression and anxiety of any generation, with job concerns high on their list of worries.

A study by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences found an association between high rates of depression and high rates of social media use: People who reported being depressed tended to be active on many social media platforms.

The U.S. National Institute of Health conducted a survey of over 1,800 individuals and tracked their usage of 11 well-known platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The results found that participants of the study logged into their social media accounts on an average of 30 times a day for over a week.

A test that determined the link between depression and social media revealed that approximately one-quarter of the participants were at a high risk of depression.

It was determined that those who used social media most were about 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who utilized social media the least.

I often remember my feelings of life three months post-graduation. I had moved from San Marcos back to my hometown of Galveston and felt that it would be a temporary move.

I was okay with watching old Netflix originals until the thought of sitting on the couch became more of a chore than a habit.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter became my new form of entertainment while Snapchat took a backseat. The reason for my love of three apps over Snapchat was because Snapchat was inherently more personal.

When you upload a story, you’re somehow capturing a more intimate portrait of your life rather than a quick picture or a written status update.

I avoided the idea that I had depression, constantly logging on to see what someone else was doing. I took it upon myself to follow new people, unfollow a few old ones and relish in the lives of former peers who seemed to have an exciting life after school.

Suddenly, my need to interact via Instagram started to abruptly stop when I noticed my mood would change after being on social media for some time.

The longer I explored Instagram and Facebook, the more I felt out of touch with my own reality. I was working a dead-end job that was not in my field and avoiding the daily stress of regular adulthood.

Interactions between friends started to become less and less as well as my desire to keep up my façade.

I was not happy about my current role in life: a struggling student post-graduation. The hard work of getting an advanced degree in media seemed to no longer fit my narrative.

I’ve interned at many different outlets; I prepared myself to fight the long fight by creating content for my portfolio and lending my hand to writing freelance, but it just seems to be a year of uncertainty.

No one ever talks about the transition period between being a full-time student to being a full-time career-driven adult.

No one discusses ways that a student can successfully create a “vision” for their future by providing counseling services for those who have long ago walked across the stage.

It seems that once the tassel is moved from right to left, you’ve entered a door of the unknown.

What do you do when school is no longer the primary center of your life? How do you apply yourself after hearing thousands of rejections?

You take a breather. You learn to live life every day for what it is. You wake up and say to yourself, “this is only the beginning.”

In order to limit anxiety and curb depression, you should make a habit of your own that becomes a routine. I work overnight shifts at my local hospital, and some times, it is a struggle to get out of bed and start the day.

I utilize my off-days to apply for jobs, rewrite my resume, and dedicate a few hours to a few of my favorite hobbies.

This allows me to look forward to being productive, utilizing a certain number of hours to research, or find something that could go towards my craft. It’s almost as if being in school taught me more about relying on time management to get my life in order.

It may take time to figure it out…. but that is the beauty of life. At 23, my idol, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, was fired from her job as a television reporter. And over twenty years later, she is one of the most recognizable faces in journalism.

“Graduation isn’t the end of a tough journey. It is the beginning of a beautiful one…”- Unknown

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