Despite the constant stressors of exams, papers, and projects, school exists in a system of constant affirmation that gives meaning to student lives. When you put hard work in, you get A’s, leadership positions, scholarships and awards in return. As soon as you cross the stage at graduation, all of that ends. This causes many recent graduates to experience “post-grad depression” as they struggle to find “grown-up” jobs and adjust to adult life.
Surviving this turbulent time can be tricky, but following these do’s and don’ts can make it a little bit easier.
DO Be Realistic
According to Experience.com, it takes the average college graduate three to nine months to land their first job after graduation. While this may seem like a short amount of time, the months can pass slowly when you’re unemployed or working a part-time job, especially when it feels like everyone you know is landing their dream job sooner rather than later.
When you feel down, remember that finding a job can take time. Just refer back to the “three to nine” statistic and remind yourself that you’re not alone; a lot of other grads are in the exact same boat.
DON’T Compare Yourself to Others
In our age of social media, it’s hard to go online without seeing the successes of everyone you know, from your kindergarten best friend to the kid who sat behind you in freshman composition. It’s important to remember that people tend to only share their best moments on social media, so you’re bound to see a lot more new job announcements than rejections.
If you need to, take a break from social media and take some time to focus on yourself. Just keep in mind that there aren’t a limited number of successes in the world: just because someone else is succeeding, doesn’t mean you can’t too.
DO Keep Yourself Busy
Another way to feel better is by keeping yourself busy. Volunteering or finding an internship (even an unpaid one) can keep your mind off of unemployment, while also giving you valuable career experience. You can use websites like LinkedIn, Chegg, and VolunteerMatch to find plenty of opportunities in your local community.
DON’T Give Up
The key to dealing with post-grad depression is not giving up. If you keep sending out applications and finding ways to build your résumé, your time will come. Keep plugging away and know that your perfect job is still out there, waiting to be discovered.