In many ways, I felt like my whole life was a build-up, a slow crescendo to the final resting point of education. If failure had occurred before, future endeavours would surely solidify my place as a “person of experience”. I was one in thousands who were to embark, to make one last leap, to roll out the battered red carpet into adult world so to speak; only 3 years stood between me.
Flash forward, one 1st class degree later and I could only describe the feeling myself and others felt as complete and utter isolation. Of course, for many, University provides the first chance of independence, being able to manage your own life, money and all importantly learning how to turn on an oven. It is the ultimate breath of fresh air, but coming back I felt like (and forgive the simile) a world weary astronaut; unable to adjust to normality as I had seen it beforehand. I thought I was alone, it turned out however amidst talks and the odd Facebook status that there was in fact a large scale feeling of wanted retrospect. Time hop didn’t help either.
There were many ways to tackle this feeling, whilst at first moving on seems to be the most important factor, myself and my friends found it easier to talk, not just about times gone by but about our current moods. The most helpful thing we all found was the prospect of how exciting the future could be, how the world was finally open to us, how our independence could be put immediately to practise.
Exploring your creativity also helps, in the months of unemployment that may follow. Utilize and hone your skills, passions and show them off, to your family or to your friends. Get out and make every day count, it may sound cliché, but even going for a walk can clear your mind.
Disregard alcohol, drink plenty of water, an odd one I know, but believe me. I found that eating better, drinking water and trying to avoid alcohol really did help my mood. I was revived, happy and able to look ahead rather than back.
Do any work you can, be it voluntary or paid, obviously paid is better, but surrounding yourself amongst people is a great way to take your mind off of things. For many, it may be a retail job, working in a charity shop or writing for publications and whilst the pressure to use your degree as soon as you can may be put on hold for the time being, it is all great experience. Many of my friends, myself included followed their University life by working in jobs completely unrelated to their degree. It is honestly a great move for when you start really looking for a career. Check out ICS, Oxfam, or even Indeed and Reed, voluntary jobs are listed everywhere, apply to be a steward at Reading or Leeds Festivals etc. Even if your efforts seem fruitless, try and try again. With determination come results.
Don’t keep it hidden, if you feel down following university, tell someone about it, be it a family member, friend, doctor or other. Mental Health Matters and Itsgoodtotalk.org.uk are services dedicated to making sure that Post University Blues are a thing of the past, and I really recommend checking them out.
Most of all be proud of what you have achieved. University is a big step, and it’s one that you have been able to overcome, keep in mind that it is incredibly common for graduates to feel this way in the time following graduation; you are not alone in how you feel.