Navigating Life After College
By Ariana Perez
Receiving your degree is a massive accomplishment in life, a testimony to years of dedication and hard work. However, with graduation looming around the corner, many wonder not just in anticipation, but in dread, for what awaits them.
Regardless of whether a job or internship is lined up, many graduates are wondering, “What now?” as they prepare to leave the institution they have studied and built their social lives around for years. As a result, post-graduation depression is not an uncommon occurrence for graduates. While the phenomenon is largely not talked about, it’s a pattern that is too important to ignore. The reality is that many graduates have been students for 20 years, and struggle with losing that aspect of their identity as they transition into working adults. Moreover, there’s the sudden loss of communal space that college campuses provide. Suddenly, it becomes harder to connect with peers and friends, especially when you’re acclimated to living close and hanging out together in the college’s surrounding area. Not to mention the struggle to find a job and pave a future that aligns with your degree and experience.
All in all, graduates may plummet in their mental health, falling into what is essentially a quarter-life crisis in their struggle to navigate life after college. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to prevent post-graduation depression.
Below are some recommendations for adjusting to life after college:
Keeping yourself busy is critical. Whether or not you’ll be traveling, applying for jobs, or working right away, you are inevitably going to have some form of free time that needs to be filled as you develop a completely new routine that doesn’t revolve around class. New or old, exercise or art related, hobbies provide a healthy outlet to destress to shape your day. Engaging in hobbies releases dopamine within the brain, assisting in the improvement of mental health. Setting goals for yourself is important as well. Career planning can be a daunting task, setting achievable goals for yourself allows you to make progress each day without feeling overwhelmed.
Ryan Ford '23,