Graduating college is a rite of passage, a source of pride, and basically, a big deal. Rarely is it ever associated with depression. But in reality, this is a common trend. Like any major transition, college graduation carries a lot of weight. It involves myriad changes, adjustments, and shifts in a young adult’s life.
In some instances, the enormity of the experience can be a catalyst for depression. Just when you’re expected to celebrate, you may be ashamed because you feel so scared and lonely. This trend must be addressed. Why does it happen and how can we cope?
Current Life is Already Isolated and Lonely
Let’s face it, things have changed, and not always for the better. Digital technology, along with stringent pandemic lockdowns, has altered our social landscape. The average college-age person is already dwelling in a culture where face-to-face interactions are less common
When the time comes to leave the community of a college or university, they may find themselves feeling very alone. Texting is okay but it’s no replacement for the human need for in-person social contact. Keep this in mind as you prepare for graduation.
Some Other Reasons Why You May Feel Depressed After Graduating From College
- Welcome to Adulthood: College is not easy but it offers much more of a safety net than the adult world.
- Under Pressure: You get it from your family, peers, society at large, and yes… from yourself.
- New Social Realities: You’re busier than ever and you don’t have college roommates sitting in the same room as you.
- Looking For a Job: The unemployment rate for those between the ages of 20 and 24 is almost double the national average. In addition, underemployment is common for those in that age range, e.g. graduates end up with gigs that don’t even require a degree
- Student Loans: Two-thirds of college graduates will have student loan debt. Of those who have trouble finding work, one in eight have considered suicide.
How to Cope With Depression After Graduating From College
For starters, take inventory as to what alumni services are at your disposal. Your tuition helped fund such programs so do not hesitate to utilize available help with career coaching, mentorship, etc. In a more personal sense, here are some further suggestions:
Create a Social Support Network
Reconnect with old friends that you didn’t see much during college. Stay connected with the new friends you made at school. Commit to supporting each other during such a turbulent time.
Stay Connected to Your Goals
When feeling depressed, you can lose sight of what led you to college in the first place. Keep a journal and/or a vision board to avoid any distance being created between you and your aspirations. Make this a topic of choice when communing with your friends and family.
Break Things Down Into Smaller Goals
To keep positive momentum happening, start small. Under the oppressive weight of depression, it is vital to attain and celebrate small successes. Be kind to yourself and take things one step at a time.
This is your foundation. Creating a daily routine will a) fortify your mind and body and b) remind you on a daily basis that you are worth the effort. Depression is not a personality flaw. It’s a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires outside help. So, as you pursue treatment, find ways to practice self-love each and every day, e.g.
- Make healthy eating choices
- Maintain regular sleep patterns
- Engage in daily movement, physical activity, or exercise
- Cultivate some relaxation techniques
All of the above tips will complement the work you do with a therapist. I invite you to reach out today to discuss how depression therapy can help you heal and thrive again.
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Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret which offers counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the Bay Area and online across California.