We all have been told that ridiculously patronizing sentence of ‘University is the best time of your life, before you know you will be finished so make the most of it’. Us students have heard the extensive list of cliches all through our university life.
But what isn’t spoken about is the sheer disappointment and hole that you feel when you graduate. Graduation is suppose to be a happy day – and for me it wasn’t. I don’t know whether or not it was the rain or the gloominess of Leeds but the whole day just felt a bit like a waste of time. Once collecting my cap and gown I went to get my professional photo taken, which I absolutely hate. After that it was just standing around awkwardly with your family. Once I collected my piece of very expensive paper, I felt really deflated – like – was that it? After this we were all herded outside whist people applause us for our efforts and me and my friend Josh ran to the Prosecco table. I downed two glasses of fizz (which apparently is frowned upon) and then it was time to go home. My lectures stopped and asked me what I was doing and with great embarrassment I told that I was working the job that I had worked since I was 16. If I’m honest a lot didn’t even seem bothered that I was struggling in the Journalism industry and if I am completely honest I think they viewed me as a bit of a wet wipe.
It’s lonely, once you are done. You and all your besties go separate ways, and you are sat looking for Graduate jobs. I honestly felt so embarrassed when someone asked me what I was doing after uni and i’d basically say nothing.
After a collection of bad Journalism jobs and EVERYONE acting like it was totally alright with over working and underpaying a graduate, I put my foot down. It does not need to be like this. I have spent months trying to find a job where the people are pleasant and I will be respected. And there really isn’t many.
1 in 4 students suffer with mental health when they are at university. I cannot imagine what it is like after they have graduate. Thrown out into the ‘big wide world’ with every adult saying to you ‘welcome to the real world love’, it’s so degrading so ‘adults’ (and I invert that as us graduates are actually adults too) please give us a break.
The Graduate Depression.
I have recently found out that graduate depression is actually a thing.
It is an issue that is taken seriously and affects many young people that are ending their years in education and needs to be talked about more. It is simply the blame from others that graduates expect way too much from the world, and is trivialized as a simple case of being scared of change. That is not true and it needs to stop being brushed under the rug.
As someone who has experienced this myself, I understand the frustration of recent graduates and the immense difficulty in getting a job. The instant impact of leaving your whole life behind and having to start again, for many of us is too much. I know for me, I finally had a life in Leeds and then due to my job, I had to return back home. Obviously it is always nice to be at home, but when you graduate and you go back to living with your parents at the age of 21, it feels almost demoralising. Not only that but leaving your friends, who were basically your second family is difficult too. For many people the abrupt change and feeling adrift is a passport to mental health issues.
Employers have a lot to answer for. Their unfair expectations that a graduate should have so much work experience is a joke. From studying, and trying to live off the minimum student loan, which doesn’t even cover your rent it can be difficult to try a clock a years worth of work experience at a local company. Most people I knew at University had to have a job to support themselves, and could definitely not swan off to London for unpaid work experiences.
Honestly, it is so frustrating that no-one is doing anything about this when it is happening to people everywhere. 532,300 people entered higher education in the UK in 2015. Imagine the extent of those that will suffer from this horrendous feeling. The feeling that you are suddenly spat out into the world and you are on your own now. More needs to be done about this, starting with Universities. Higher education facilities need to give ongoing support and guidance to graduates after they leave, and continue to help them through this time. I know my University does offer support with getting job, however I found the only jobs they could offer me were back in Leeds, which wasn’t helpful. As grateful as I am for this service, we needed support not just with finding a position, but also with the transition from University to home life.
I know I have gone on quite a bit, and I’m sorry. Once I get started I just can’t seem to stop.
As hard as it is, it does really helps to talk to someone abut how your feeling, whether or not it is family or your friends. If you think you can’t possibly talk to them then head over to the MIND website.