My whole life I’ve been waiting for the day I would walk across the stage, in my cap and gown, and receive my degree. I would wave to my family in the crowd and feel like I made my parents proud; but as graduation approaches I’ve been feeling a bit uneasy. Why am I fearing something I’ve always looked forward to? Is it because I’ll finally be an adult who can’t blame their lack of finances on being a “broke college student” or is it because I now have to be 100% accountable for my status in life?
Being in college has been somewhat of a crutch for me. While all my friends moved on after undergrad in pursuit of their long-term career goals, I decided to start over and pick another major. For four years I had college as an excuse for all my social and career set backs – but recently I’ve realized that I’ve help myself back.
Post-graduate depression is a real thing. Although it might not have an official term, many grads are feeling the effects of this type of depression and I’m scared I might become one too. In 2017 The Washington Post published an article by Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez titled There’s such a thing as post-graduation depression. I know: I had it. Rochaun shares her struggles, the effects of post-grad depression, and not knowing she wasn’t alone in this adventure.
Some of the signs of post-grad depression are “an abnormally negative perspective, decreased motivation to get out of bed, a general sense of hopelessness and, occasionally, substance abuse.” Rochaun mentions that studies on young adults post-grad depression experiences aren’t easily available and most studies on young adult depression isn’t centered on this specific issue.
As a Twitter user I come across many posts daily that cover a range of topics including college student woes. The coursework, the debt, the pressure from society to get a degree in a field that you most likely won’t work in; you can’t deny the immense stress young adults are experiencing daily. So if students are carrying tons of stress for at least four years straight, why wouldn’t they have detachment and identity issues once they graduate.
College is the addiction in this situation and graduates are suffering from the withdrawals of stress and staying up late nights. My fear of graduation stems from the extreme shift my lifestyle will experience. Although there are some struggles I will face, I need to get comfortable with failure and practice separating my life’s value from societies “one size fits all” standards. Students and graduates aren’t all the same; we think, process emotions, and value different things in our lives. It is a shame we let these standards effect us negatively and break us down; but I say enough is enough. I refuse to let this next chapter in my life be ruined by other peoples opinion on my life and if you’re a recent graduate or will be soon, try your best to reject the hate. And finally, seek help from a medically trained professional; therapy does wonders for the mind and body so take a chance.