Graduating…

‘Graduating into a pandemic’ is almost certainly the most heard and spoken phrase for 2020’s graduates. I count myself very lucky to be surrounded by others brave enough to openly discuss the whirlwind of emotions being felt.

They didn’t mention post-graduate blues in the higher education brochure, did they?

As a fellow Class of 2020 graduate, I would like to contribute to all the support out there which has really helped me during this period. Without further ado, here’s some tips I haven’t come across yet that I found really helped me stay sane.

LinkedIn

Slightly counter-intuitive considering as I’ll no doubt be posting this on LinkedIn, but of all social media platforms that affected me the worst after graduating, this one took the winning spot.

Social Media is a known enemy for mental health, be it the fuel behind social anxieties, self-image or the old faithful ‘fear of missing out’. However, LinkedIn hit different once I’d finished my final assessment in ways I could never imagine. The deadly mix of everyone’s professional career ‘highlight reel’ and the seemly dark abyss of your own future is enough to spiral anyone into madness.

That being said, I must credit those on LinkedIn who were so transparent about their experience. Whether it be discussing their mental health, starting conversations about flaws in recruitment systems or simply sharing how their hobbies or interim jobs were going, these individuals unknowingly helped many graduates feel less alone.

However, like all social media, it’s so important to step back and know when too much time online is impacting your own health and well-being. If, like I did, you find yourself beginning to constantly wander what you’re doing wrong to have not found your place yet: Delete the app, unpin the tab, remove that toolbar shortcut.

Transparency

What drove me to write this blog post is the aforementioned sheer gratitude I feel towards those who have used their platforms to share their struggles involved in graduating and searching for the next steps in their career.

This period is a strange one and it’s quite an experience feeling your self-esteem take a plummet with every rejection. I found that even mentioning the uncertainty of the future in passing was a weight lifted and also helped my friends to feel more confident discussing their feelings.

Taking care of yourself is priority

I never took my mental health seriously enough but third year was a huge wake up call to periodically take a step back and organise my mind before it disorganised me. I found Headspace a saving grace in teaching me mindfulness through meditation, and I urge you to give it a go if you find your mind producing thoughts quicker than you can process them.

Most of all, congratulations on finishing university. It took me a second to look back and appreciate all the work I’ve put in and every graduate deserves a pat on the back and a well-deserved break for making it all the way.

This post was written around a month back, but has been sat in my drafts for a hot minute while I simultaneously tried to figure out my own life plan! I hope this post helped anyone who needed it, and of course I’m always open for anyone who needs a chat.

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