P.U.B, or Post.University.Blues as I like to call it. I apologise greatly if you have clicked on here thinking I was going to be writing about pubs, or some form of manufactured context that sells alcohol.
Now I’m going to admit right now that I am not suffering from P.U.B or even Post-University depression as some have gone as far to diagnose it as. I actually will be off to my new University this coming Thursday to start my MA degree. So why am I writing about post- University if I’m still going to be at University I hear some of you question. Well, quite simply the post-university world is something that fascinates me, or moreover the approach and attitudes us students have towards life that doesn’t require essay deadlines, freshers week(s in some cases) and in most cases living on your own with people you would not have known four years ago.
Before writing this post I wanted to do some research and see if there was an actual diagnosis for post-university depression, and guess what, there certainly is. I even stumbled across an article written for the Guardian dating back to 2001, where writer Lyndsey Winship stated that “while one in four students suffers depression during their university years, there are no official figures for the post-graduation period.” What seemed alarming to me, and almost sad is that 11 years ago there was a thing such as post-university depression and with the pressure of deciding to get into university increasing alongside the fees, I’m a little concerned for the mind-set of future students once they’ve received their bit of paper encompassing three, four or even five years of hard work.
I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones in my friendship group. One way or another I can afford to continue studying, after gaining a place at a fantastic University that offers THE perfect course for my interests….problem solved. However, for many this was not the case, and as soon as they’d put down their pens in their exams they were greeted by a turbulent, if painful struggle to find a job or experience that could help them pay the bills. You think that when you’re a student, life can be tough and in my opinion it can be, although upon leaving the University bubble so to speak it shows how different it can be in the ‘real world’. I personally struggle with the term ‘real world’ as it consciously sparks a panic within some people that what they’re experiencing at University is not the real world, and that in fact post-university life is going to be something far scarier, harder and virtually impossible. It does not have to be this way.
I accept that when you’re a student you have to accept that life won’t be the student lifestyle forever, though is it really something that first year students should be worrying themselves over half way in to the year? I guess what this post is designed to do is to say ‘it’s okay to not be okay’ after University, I’ve had friends struggle and by talking to someone about it they’ve been able to establish a scheme to help them on their way through the awkward transition that is post-university to ‘real life’. Having a part-time job while at University could help you settle into the idea of working full time after university, if further study is not for you, and could help ease the “i’m not where I want to be at this stage of my life but i’ll get there one day” mentality. The expectation for students to find a perfect, well paid job that can help them fight the stress of debt-payback is equally damaging, especially in this current climate where youth unemployment in general is increasing.
University really can be the best years of your life, but what is to stay it has to stop there once you’ve got that degree that you put all the hours in. Going into my MA has made me appreciate how fortunate I am to continue studying and while it may seem I am putting off the real world for one more year, my time too will come this time next year when (fingers crossed) i’ll be off to a job, somewhere, somehow. There’s nothing to say that post-university life won’t be fun, it just means you probably won’t be able to neck dozens of shots the night before and still make it to lectures, or to work on time, and to be honest even at 21 my friends and I are feeling that our bodies are already too old to handle it. It is a different lifestyle, but it does not mean it has to be a negative lifestyle, so if you do find yourself struggling with the post-university life then I urge you to seek action and talk to someone, after all humans aren’t designed for big change, especially within a couple of months.