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Advice for StudentsAfter University

Post University Depression

3 August 2021
Source: Mohamed Hassan (via Pxhere)

So, university is finished for the summer, and if you are third year then that is university done full stop. People always tell us that university are the best years of your life, and thus are we to believe that the anti-climax of those three years leads into a depressing world of 9-5 jobs?

The shock of being out of a system that you have been in since you were four years old can feel rather destabilising. Whether university was the best three/four years of your life or whether you thought you would be happy when it was over, you may now be feeling depressed at the change.

If you have moved home, you now are living with your parents again which can feel like a massive step backwards regarding your independence. Sleeping in your childhood room, interacting with your parents and siblings again can often lead to a feeling of frustration. Sometimes it is difficult to separate your old self from the new post-university self, perhaps this manifests as regressing to the childhood self that you thought you had grown out of. In situations like this it is important to take a step back and remember that you have grown as a person no matter how much of a regression living with your parents feels.

The best way of doing this is changing things. You could change your room, redecorate it, move the furniture around. Or perhaps moving into a different room, swapping with a sibling for example would be the change of scenery that you need to start the new chapter of your life here without feeling stuck in the past.

Perhaps you are suffering from a lack of social interaction. University is a very socially intensive environment; you are living with housemates, seeing friends and doing lots of things with lots of different people. Once you return home you are probably quite far away from most of your university friends, and depending on your home-friend situation, you may start to feel isolated. As you get older more and more of the people from your childhood will move away, this is natural but unfortunately can make your return from university quite lonely. I have found that facetiming friends from university is really helpful, I have also found that making new friends at home is great. I am lucky to still have a few friends from home and making plans within the week is really important as it gives you things to look forward to.

If you haven’t already, get a job. Even if it is just a summer part-time or 0 hour job. This means that you can get out of the house and distract yourself – all while earning money. The structure this provides to your days is also very beneficial as it means that time off feels more valuable, and you find the energy to do stuff with your day.

Pick up your hobbies or start new ones. University can often force you to sacrifice your time once spent playing the guitar, hiking, or painting in favour of Uni work. Now is your opportunity to reconnect with your favourite things and consequently tune back into your identity– this will help you to feel better in the long term.

The best thing to do, in tangent with all of these things is to look to the future. What do you want to do with your life? Having a goal or an ambition can help to shift the rut you may now find yourself in. Pick up a project to do with this future goal, be that a blog or a training course online. Whatever it is, find something to occupy your free time that uses your brain. Making a structure for your time can also help in this line of thinking.

And if you don’t know the answer to that, if that makes you more anxious – think what do I want to do right now.   Post university depression is a normal feeling, it is an end of an era. This just means that a new chapter can begin.

So let yourself remember the good times, but also look forward to the new experiences that are coming your way should you go and find them.