There comes a point in our lives when we must make decisions that have various implications for our futures. For college students that time comes around the time of graduation, and I like to call this time, the CROSSROADS. During this season we’re challenged with trying to decide what will be our next move in life, which direction will we go in, and ultimately what do we want and what is best for us?
As this is my fourth (and God willing) final year in my Ph.D. Program, I find myself yet again at another crossroad in life. What will I do? What direction will I choose? Which option is best for me and my future?…These are questions that I am repeatedly asking myself (and being asked by others 🙈), and in most cases my response has been “Give me a minute, on top of everything else that I’m doing to finish strong I’m working on figuring all of that out too.”
Combating Post-Graduation Depression
Research indicates that during this time many college graduates experience post-graduation depression and other stressors in response to the transitions that are occurring during this crossroad of life. It doesn’t help that millennials have the highest rates of depression and anxiety of any generation, with job concerns high on our list of worries. Although understudied, symptoms of post-graduation depression include an abnormally negative perspective, decreased motivation to get out of bed, a general sense of hopelessness and, occasionally, substance abuse. During the crossroads of life, individuals often have trouble motivating themselves to get a job, and are lonely due to a lack of connection with friends, as our proximity and access to individuals within our social networks begin to change.
However, there are ways to combat post-graduation depression and pro-active steps that can be taken to make your crossroads of life a smooth transition 💡.
Lessons Learned & Tips
- Revisit and/or Set Goals 📝…identify where you would like to see yourself in the next 6 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and work backwards. Which steps must be completed before reaching the next set of goals. (FORWARD THINKING)
- Map out Options 🔑…I am a visual person, so I recently created a three tiered model of career options that focus on addressing my goals from a micro, meso, and macro level. I realized that with my educational background in social work, education, and public affairs I am at an advantage as each route to addressing the needs of my target population (minority adolescents) serves a purpose that contributes to my bigger picture.
- Be Pro-active…at least a year prior to graduating begin to explore job positions/titles that you find fitting. Either keep a running list, or begin to apply. DO NOT WAIT until graduation, already have a few options lined up.
- Consult a Mentor …it helps to talk through this phase of life. Also, doing so comes with trusted advice and additional tips for navigating your crossroads.
- Keep in Contact with Your Friends…most often, your friends have heard your dreams and aspirations and have been a part of your growth over the years. Therefore, they are a great source of support and encouragement during this phase. Reach out, connect, and plan together.
- Take a Break from Social Media 📵… it’s so easy to compare your journey to others in this era of Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc. So during this season, try to navigate your journey with tunnel vision, solely focused on you!
As previously stated, I am quickly approaching a major crossroad in life, one that I have yet to venture into. The world of no longer being a student, but now a working adult. The tips that are provided are steps that I have made in the past few weeks and some that I plan to continue making in the future to keep the post-graduation blues from taking ahold on me, by actively preparing myself for this transition 🔑. If you are in a similar phase in life, I wish you the best and if you have any additional tips please feel free to share in the comments.
Motivational Scripture 🙏🏽
Philippians 4:6-7- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The Washington Post (2017). There’s such a thing as post-graduation depression. I know: I had it. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/theres-such-a-thing-as-post-graduation-depression-i-know-i-had-it/2017/08/04/4d163c6a-618d-11e7-a4f7-af34fc1d9d39_story.html