College is a strange beast. You arrive as a freshman, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and somewhat out of your league. You spend that year getting your feet set under you, forming a group of friends, and discovering your independence outside of your parent’s home and the town in which you grew up. Then follows two years of absolute bliss, learning, expanding your mind, getting into trouble, and basically doing what you want, when you want. By the time senior year rolls around, you’ve basically had enough. Every party feels exactly the same, every class is just another hill to crest on the path to graduation. You’re now the seasoned veteran, the one who has seen it all before. Then graduation happens, and you’re tossed out of that safe bubble of academia and into the ‘real world’. So what happens now? In 2012, chances are you’re not lucky enough to step right into some well-paying dream job. Many people move back into their parents’ home, with no major prospects. Others head off for additional adventures in new towns or cities, or battle to start the career that fills them with passion. Some fall into a massive depression, lost now that they are no longer the big fish in the small pond of college. Whatever group you find yourself in, chances are you’ll have some amount of disappointment that college is behind you. So take a stab at some of the ways to beat the recent grad blues.
Regardless of whether you moved across the country after graduation or decided to stay in that college town, take some time to become more a part of the community. As an undergraduate you probably spent all of your time focused on the college community. While college may be a huge part of the city, there’s also a vibrant community that exists completely outside of the school. Explore that community a bit. Get to know the local business owners. Join the neighborhood council. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave that city only knowing the college campus. Chances are you’ll discover a lot to love in your town outside of the school.
Next, turn your attention to all of the things you wanted to do while in school, but didn’t have the time to. With classes, studying, friends, visiting family and a few extracurricular activities your days were probably packed. Now you’ll have a bit more opportunity on your hands. Take up that musical instrument you’ve always been interested in. Start reading for fun, instead of just for assignments. Travel, or cook some interesting meals. Whatever it is you love, get to know it without the constraints of school.
If the post grad blues are based in a fear that you won’t ever get a job, expand your network to help calm those fears. Get yourself up on LinkedIn, connecting with young professionals who are already working in your industry. Or look online or in the community for professional organizations you can join. Chances are you’ll find more than a few, each with regular meetings at bars, restaurants or community centers. It’s a great way to make some new friends while also helping set up the career opportunities that will get you off the couch and working.
Finally, consider ways to keep the learning going even after graduation. That bachelor’s degree doesn’t have to be the end of the road for you. Take some continuing education classes, look into graduate school, or even prepare to earn an online MBA in finance. College is the end of one journey, but it is also the beginning of another. Focus on that aspect and continue to grow and develop yourself, and those post grad blues will soon be a thing of the past.