Feel like something is missing? A feeling in your gut that you’re not good enough? That if you tick off an action like updating your LinkedIn or getting a decent job, you’ll feel better? Graduation is a lot harder than university, but why is nobody talking about it?
After graduation, what unhealthy habits and attachments are holding your life together? Bad relationships? A job that doesn’t fulfil you? Are you numb? Constantly pursuing your phone? What exactly are you looking for? If you feel complacent and moving back home has knocked you a tad after graduation, it’s not surprising. We live in an age of addiction, where addictive thinking has become almost totally immersive. The very idea you can somehow make your life alright by attaining primitive material goals – whether it the perfect job, the ideal relationship or that really nice Mercedes A-Class, the underlying idea that if you could get X, Y, Z, you would be okay is consistent and quite wrong.
University offers nothing less than liberation, a new perspective, freedom from the illusion that life is supposed to be spent unhappy, in a dead-end job, scraping to get by. University offers structure, endless grids of opportunity in organised time slots. The timetable. The loss of a timetable and melancholy is truly the worst combination, with no reason to get up, no reason to get dressed – there is suddenly no purpose. No lectures to swerve, no friends to sink a few with. Add structure back into your life, set your alarm to 8:30 am and go for a morning walk, keep a diary, plan out days and weeks. Most importantly, find an outlet! Start reading poetry, draw bad cartoons. Anything!
Avoid filling your days with temporary fixes. A coffee here, an eBay purchase there, perching on an endless carousel of toxic relationships and unfulfilling work – swirling, twirling and whirling around, never truly looking within and understanding what makes you happy. Have you ever sat down and inventoried all of the things that bug you about your past self at university? The tutorials you swerved, the career guidance you turned down. Then comes a postcard from the real world. The struggle starts, slowly adapting to the misery you left behind, falling back into toxic relationships, adolescent friendships you know you’ve outgrown, but it’s familiar and cosy, like a warm hug.
Productivity is key. Comparison is the thief of all joy, so take a break from the addiction of social media. Get rid of those defective characteristics: envy, impatience, laziness, malice, self-pity, and pride. Start doing what you love, get those creative juices flowing again, get involved in activities that bring you joy. Honestly, tell someone trustworthy about just how stressed you are, since a problem shared is a problem halved. Watch out for negative thoughts and behaviour, and be honest when it happens so you can address and dispose of them. Life can be so cool, so enjoy it!
Words: Jessica-Mia Stewart
Hashtags: #depression #anxiety #creativity #graduation