postgrad depression

Postgrad depression is real – here’s how I combat it

The rumours are true, postgrad depression is all too real and doesn’t it half stupefy you when you start working full time. The sudden realisation that, well, ‘this is it’ is profusely overwhelming when it finally does hit you. (Which it doesn’t, for quite a long while by the way.)

Since my last day of university in May, to my graduation in July, even to starting in my new full time role in August. I’d not yet really felt the full force of postgrad depression. I mean, i’ve missed university from time to time but more often than not i’ve been far too busy to really really dwell on it.

Now however, a whole 3 months since I walked out of university for the very last time i’ve started to really feel it. Not to the point that i’m prepared to drop everything and head back for a masters. You wont catch me doing that anytime soon. I guess what i’m feeling is more so a realisation than a depression. Realising that i’m not going to be living with my friends anymore, not heading in to university every day nor enjoying those ever-weird-but-always-fun mid-week nights out. To use the word depression in the phrase post grad depression is totally OTT. I don’t feel depressed, nor do I even feel really disproportionately sad. I guess what I do feel is a little uncertainty as to what my future holds. I’m out of my comfort zone and what i’m used to, so that’s a bit of a weird feeling.

I get sad from time to time when I think of my friends and how i’ll probably rarely see them now. I mean, we talk all the time but texting will never compare to the late night chats, the movie dates and the general company that we all used to enjoy with one and other. It’s also a bit weird to think that i’ll never be a real student again. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy university, and i’m not afraid to admit that I am *a bit* of a nerd. I love learning and though the learning never really ends, it’s just not quite the same.

Anyhow, all of this sadness is of course balanced out with happiness too. I’ve walked straight in to an executive role, i’m living in a new city and i’m still enjoying myself every single day. I think what i’m trying to say (in far too many words) is that it’s normal to feel a little upset when your 3 or 4 or however many years at uni do come to an end. But it doesn’t have to be ‘the end of life as you know it’ per se. When one door closes another opens as the old saying goes. It’s important to cherish your memories, but you can’t keep holding on to them and wishing they never left. I’m making sure that I keep on moving forward to avoid falling in to a serious postgrad depression slump and so far, so good.

How i’ve been working against the postgrad depression

I’ll cement the title of this blog shall I? Yes, postgrad depression is real. However it’s not quite like how they say it is. For starters, would I call it depression? Absolutely notI guess what it is, is just feeling a little unsure about your future and kind of ‘out of the ordinary’ if you like. It’s missing your friends and the times you enjoyed at university and it’s realising that it’s all over.

It’s not consuming, however. I don’t know if that’s just applicable to me, or the whole regime of it all. But speaking from personal experience I would say that postgraduate depression is just a slightly deflating feeling that you get every now and again. It’s really easy to bounce back from it.

But what about me personally? How have I tried to avoid it?

Keeping myself busy

I think one of the main ways in which i’ve combated the dreaded postgrad depression is by keeping myself busy.

I’ve been travelling a lot this summer and I don’t plan on stopping. I think if I was at home all the time, not really doing much then I would definitely miss my former uni days in full force. However, a balance of foreign travel, tied in with work alongside seeing my friends and boyfriend has really helped me to keep the negativities at bay.

I’m not saying you need to jump on a plane to avoid feeling sad about the end of university, mind. By doing anything that you enjoy and basically ensuring that you’re not just sitting at home, you’re keeping your mind active and entertained. If you’re having fun away from university then you’re unlikely to not miss the fun you had there quite as much.

Not going ‘teetotal’ on the uni lifestyle

Just because i’m not a student anymore, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to act like i’m not.

I still enjoy a good night out, I just have to make sure I save it til’ the weekend. Not only this, but I still spend a lot of time in Liverpool. I hope to move back there someday. Liverpool reminds me of my time as a student and it’s honestly where i’ve made my bed. Though I love Manchester a lot, I think Liverpool will always be my first city-love. Therefore, spending as much time there as I can is a way that i’ve kept the postgrad blues at arms length.

Going hard on the memoirs

Or even get a tattoo!

No i’m not joking, that’s actually what I did last week. I mean this wasn’t some kind of weird on spur of the moment decision. I’ve wanted this tattoo for quite some time and I’m so pleased with it. I wanted something to mark the end of my university experience and the best 3 years of my life, whilst also making it a little personal to me and my friends. I drew up a design about 4 or 5 months ago now, and finally got it tattooed just last Thursday.

postgrad depression
It represents our go-to uni song (if you’re wondering) – life is a highway.

My little tattoo is a constant reminder of a cracking three years and the incredible friends I made. It’ll always be with me, just as they will be – i’m really happy that I chose to get it done.

I also need to get around to finishing my scrap books. Since my first year of uni, i’ve filled a good 6 or so books with photos and other memories (yes, i’m the type to hoard receipts and cinema tickets, that kind of stuff). I still haven’t finished my final year book(s) so when I have a spare afternoon, and when i’m feeling particularly nostalgic, i’ll definitely be concentrating on that too. Having memories is one thing, but keeping them alive forever is where it’s truly at. I like to document things as I go along because 50 or so years from now I just know that my memories will be what light up my days. Holding on to them through scrapbooks (and tattoos ha ha) therefore, is paramount to me and is something i’ll definitely continue to do.

Enjoying the life I live now

What’s the point in life if you’re always looking backwards?

The final way in which i’ve warded off the postgrad depression is by ensuring that i’m always living my best life. By picking a job that I thoroughly enjoy, and by surrounding myself with the people that I love – i’ve done exactly that. There’s a saying that goes “pick a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and I feel that. Walking in to work every morning knowing that i’ll be doing things that I truly enjoy means that it doesn’t really feel like a job. I hope I never lose touch of that feeling.

Not only this, but I still enjoy my time out of work just as much as I enjoyed my time at university. I still see my friends and my boyfriend all the time, who really do make my world go round and brighten my days. So 1-0 to me postgrad depression, you won’t be consuming me anytime soon.

Seriously though, if anyone is ever feeling at a loose end after university my messages are always open. It can be rough, especially if you’re struggling to find your way so don’t suffer in silence. No problem is too small and i’ll always be around for anybody who wants a chat.

2 thoughts on “Postgrad depression is real – here’s how I combat it”

  1. I admire you for writing this.
    I also found my 20s to be challenging, but somehow hit my stride by the time I was 30. The financial rewards came later, but my 20s was the richest time in terms of experiences. (I worked as a teacher; I became a writer and publisher; then worked as a journalist and lived in the US; got married along the way).
    I think what’s hard is that there’s no one (and no peer group) to guide you. My advice? Seek experiences more than stability, and find a mentor who can help you map out your journey. (By experiences I mean working in different sectors, roles and countries rather than skydiving etc). Don’t get stuck too soon!


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