by guest blogger Nicole Gittleman

Post-grad depression (PGD) is REAL. Similarly to how post-vacation depression, though many may disagree, is also real. Life seems exciting and new and adventurous after graduation, until the dreaded month of September creeps up after August and slaps all us post-grads in the face with one large reminder: You are not going back to college, and “move in day” is a thing of the past.

Just like that, it hits you. All of your friends between the ages of 18-21 are packing up to head back to whatever university you call the “motherland” and you… well, you’re not. How will us PGs survive? How will we cope during these hard times? Though the melodrama with which I describe this familiar situation seems a bit drastic (call me dramatic), you will find that a quick Google search for “post college depression” renders hundreds of articles about the topic. Let me repeat myself. Post-grad depression is REAL and if you have it, you can overcome it.

I’ve compiled a list of medically proven treatments, should you self-diagnose yourself with post-grad depression (Also, to clarify, grad school is NOT the same as undergraduate studies, so these treatments apply to those continuing their education as well).

1. Fill up your calendar

Whether you’re working or going to graduate school, sometimes you may feel like there’s nothing to look forward to. Every day is routine, with none of the exciting daily variables that college life has to offer. By filling up your calendar with fun events and plans, you’re creating things to look forward to that can transform your dreary outlook on life into an adventurous one. Attend a food festival, visit new cities, see a play, or make an appointment for a pedicure… whatever floats your boat! (P.S. Who’s to say you can’t include a trip back to school to visit some old friends?)

2. Develop a weekly hobby

Developing your interests is another way to spice up PG life! In college, my hobbies included watching movies that I’ve seen a million times, pizza, and drinking wine on my couch in my pajamas. Though these hobbies may be extremely stimulating, post-grad life probably shouldn’t consist of only those things. (Please note that as a post grad these things are still totally acceptable). Find a healthy hobby. Whether it be yoga, hiking, cooking, or painting, get into a groove of enjoying one of your favorite pastimes every week. Even better, find an old friend to enjoy it with you, or make new friends through your new interest! I’ve been quite the chef lately, and every Thursday I make it a habit to cook up something extra yummy.

3. Stay in touch

Typically in college we develop our friendships from mutual interests (pizza) or a common event you both attend (class or football games). As an adult, it may be difficult to keep in touch with your college friends as  your lives are changing or you may find you run out of things to talk about. Just because you don’t see them every day doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them every day. Develop deeper relationships with your college friends. Talk about big girl stuff together (like jobs and relationships) that you may not have bonded over in college. Take your friendships to the next level as your lives progress to the next level.

4. Be a good alum. nicole PGD

Give back to the university that has given so much to you. With college loans and entry-level jobs, PGs may not be financially able to donate and give back in that nature, but attending events and continuing to show your school pride is another way to keep the spirit of college alive in your life. Many schools offer alumni meet ups and promote dozens of alumni events on campus that you shouldn’t be shy to take advantage of. It’s both acceptable to stay connected to the place you called home for four years, and encouraged. Just because you’ve moved on physically, doesn’t mean you have to emotionally.

5. Remember the perks: being a PG isn’t all that bad, is it?

Whether you’re working full time or part time, or attending grad school, you’re creating your own path and making your way. For those working, you’re making a steady income that’s easily larger than any income you had during college, and at the end of each day you don’t have to worry about homework. For those attending grad schools, you’re getting smarter and smarter each day and at the end of your program going to have a specialized skill and advanced degree that put you ahead of your competition. For both groups of post grads, you’re developing your true self. You’re finally using all the skills you’ve obtained from education over the years and you’re contributing to society, which is pretty cool.

All in all, just remember that being a post grad isn’t a problem. There are benefits to adulthood, and just being you’ve graduated doesn’t mean the fun ends. Make plans, find hobbies, keep in touch, and stay positive. We will get through PGD together. Your college days may be over, but you’ll always be an insert school mascot here. It wasn’t over when you graduated, it was never over.

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