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Post-Grad Depression and Social Media: Let's Talk About It

Let's talk about looking after ourselves and the factors contributing to post-graduate depression.

Graduate life is a bit of a free-fall. Most of our lives are thoroughly structured through education up until the point we get put in those robes and the camera flash goes off. Of course, there will be a few of us who managed to secure graduate jobs prior to being unleashed into the wild; however that can't be the case for all of us, and it certainly wasn't the case for me.

The realisation that arrives the September after graduation that there's no further term at university can feel daunting and saddening to say the least. I've found that it comes paired with a deep sense of nostalgia for times where my future career felt a lot more secure in the hands of my education. Leaving somewhere that has been your home for three or four years of your life to enter uncharted waters is hard. The countless hours of filling out applications and re-structuring your CV accompanied by rejection after rejection will take its toll on anyone, and we have to remember to look after ourselves.

I know that in my own situation I felt isolated, lonely, and defeated. Being stuck in a parent's home with no money after working for years to achieve a successful degree is not an ideal situation, but it's important to remember that it is temporary. It is also important to identify the factors that contribute to that feeling of failure that is commonly associated with the job seeking phase of graduate life.

Firstly, remind yourself that you worked hard to obtain your degree. Getting through higher education isn't a small achievement, and often after it we feel we need to take time out or re-assess our aspirations, and there is nothing wrong with that. Which brings me to one of the main contributors of the pressure we place on ourselves as graduates, and that is social media.

Social media serves as an excellent networking environment; however, it's effects on mental health are severe. Scrolling through fellow graduates with jobs when you're feeling deflated and are itching to move on with your own career certainly made me feel like I'd failed somewhere along the line. If I'd just gone to that career seminar, not skipped that one class, or just chosen a different degree entirely, maybe my life would be more together right now. However it's worth remembering that everyone leads incredibly different lives, and just because you didn't get that graduate job straight after graduating does not determine your worth in the professional field you seek to go into. So maybe it's worth turning your notifications off for a while or just putting your phone down, and knowing that social media profiles and posts are not always an accurate representation of reality. 

Also remember that you're not alone. There are countless graduates who are in the same boat, myself included. Reach out to peers who you think might be going through a similar situation or talk to a counsellor about how you're feeling. Your hard work will pay off and you will find secure footing. In the meantime, I found that volunteering helped bridge the gap in my CV and also helps me in regards to motivation as I feel I'm contributing towards the creative field I want to work in.

In summary, make sure you take the time to look after yourself whilst you commit to your graduate job search. Try not to compare yourself to others or diminish the hard work you're putting into the search or the degree that you achieved. People are there to support you, whether that be a friend, a family member or a counsellor. You are not alone in this. 

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