What are your plans for next year then? The question every final year student dreads.
Between graduate schemes, masters, travelling, or getting a job where’s the option for ‘I’m lost and I don’t know what I want to do with my life?’
Some people cannot wait to graduate, for others this ignites anxiety about what the next step in their life will be.
Having witnessed both of my brothers graduate, I soon realised that post uni life isn’t all smiles and optimism. Both my brothers loved university and were devastated at the prospect of moving back home after graduation. At the time I was only a first-year student, and I couldn’t understand why my brothers were so sad about graduating. But, now as a third-year with graduation fast approaching, I completely empathise with why they felt this way.
Post-uni depression is a topic that is sadly not recognised nor openly discussed enough. City Mental Health Alliance reported that 49% of students surveyed admitted their mental well-being declined after leaving university. Some people struggle with the sudden absence of a structured learning environment or stepping into the unknown of their future.
The key here is knowing you are not alone and many people will suffer with post-uni blues. But do not suffer in silence. Whether that’s confiding in a relative, friend or the university support networks, people are here to help so do not feel alone in not knowing where your future is heading.
For me and many others, university is a place like no other. You’re completely independent, all of your friends live nearby, you can cook what you want, you can get out of bed when you want with few responsibilities. Of course, you can drink and be as loud as you want because parents aren’t at your pres! All of these make the prospect of moving home daunting, especially as you’re losing the independence gained over the three years at university.
But what happens once the utopian uni bubble inevitably bursts? Some people know exactly what they want to do after they graduate and others will stay in Manchester and continue living in the university bubble. Whilst some people may want to maintain their independence it isn’t always financially possible to avoid moving back in with parents.
For me, the word ‘graduation’ petrifies me. I love my life as it is and all of the pending uncertainties frighten me. I know that I’m never going to be in this surreal environment again. Living somewhere like Fallowfield, your neighbourhood is literally filled with students. I currently live around the corner from all of my friends and my boyfriend, whereas next year the reality is that my friends will be scattered across the country and I will be in a long-distance relationship. Many people will struggle with the reality of not being able to see their friends or partners as frequently as at uni.
Whether you know where you’re heading after you throw that mortarboard in the air or you don’t have a clue, the message here is to keep calm. Explore your options, and don’t rush into anything. Search for jobs and see what interests you, whether you want to take some much-needed time out and get an in-between job before you commit to a career, or if you’re ready to go straight into one.