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Overcoming Post-College Depression: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Post college depression is something that I’ve personally struggled to come to grips with. Many people go to college, make tons of friends, have a good time, then finish school and fall into a deep depressive rut. Up until college, you are used to going to school and socializing with people you meet at school. Although it is pretty easy to make friends when living at the dorms, suddenly you finish school and you realize that you are like an Eagle that hasn’t fully spread its wings.

You haven’t yet fully transitioned into becoming an adult and are experiencing what is considered a Quarter Life Crisis.  Chances are you are in your 20s, just graduated or maybe have graduated for a couple of years and have become really depressed. There’s a reason you have become depressed though. You haven’t successfully managed to navigate through the transition into adulthood. The transition is scary for many people and failing to “man up” and transition can leave you in a rut of depression rut for a long time.

Post-College Depression Symptoms & Signs

Most symptoms of post-college depression are not typical symptoms of depression.  This does not typically have the same etiology as actual clinical depression.  However, the longer you let the depression rule your life after college, the more difficult it is going to be to overcome.

  • Addiction: Following college people become addicted to drugs and alcohol to fill voids in their life. Additionally, many people loved the hedonistic sex, drugs, party life that they experienced in college. This lifestyle is not healthy and not sustainable for the future. Addiction is a common symptom of the depression following college.
  • Confusion: Another common symptom of post-college depression is confusion. You don’t know what to do with your life. Should you crawl back in the nest with your parents or explore the dangerous world all on your own? What type of career should you enter? What is your life purpose? You are confused.
  • Fear: Most people are afraid of taking the next step after finishing college. The next step involves finding a home, grocery shopping on your own, and getting a stable job. This makes many people scared, but is necessary to advance in life.
  • Loneliness: It is common to feel lonely. Now you are out on your own, experiencing life, and you don’t have your social support network around to back you up. Your roommate has moved across the country and life is staring you in your face.
  • Joblessness: Most people that finish college are depressed that they can’t find a job. This is a very common symptom. It’s time to kick yourself into gear and make something work. Lack of productivity and contribution will make anyone depressed.

What causes post college depression?

What causes people to feel depressed after they finish college? Obviously there are a number of reasons you may feel depressed after college. Some people had become addicted to the college lifestyle, others miss their friends, and some people just don’t know what to do as the next step.

Although the transition into adulthood is a piece of cake for some people, others really struggle with day to day functioning. Then again, others may have had actual or clinical depression before college and it is starting to rear its head again now that you have become lonely and/or unproductive. The causes can be totally different depending on the person.

How to Overcome Post College Depression: Help Yourself

  1. Take risks – Sometimes we become so comfortable in a certain environment that we simply need to take some risks. I’m not suggesting to go out and do dumb things, I’m saying take some risks that can better your life. For example, ask a girl out on a date, become active in the community, try some new activities.
  2. Get a job – If you don’t have a job you either need to get one as soon as possible or create one. No making excuses, just go out and get one. This will help implement socialization and structure into your day. Although you may not necessarily like the job you are doing, keep working and staying productive – it’s tough to be depressed when you are busy.
  3. Meet new people – Put yourself out there and meet some new social contacts. Get some new friends in your life. Although this isn’t easy for everyone to do, there are plenty of opportunities to be social. Find some of your interests, join some clubs, join some groups, and get meeting.
  4. Join clubs – For people that have a difficult time making friends following college, one good suggestion is to join clubs. If you are into yoga, go join a yoga class. If you like debating, join a debate club. If you like sports, maybe volunteer to help coach a team in your community. There are plenty of social clubs that you can join to help keep yourself busy and meet new people.
  5. Be social – Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Try to be as social as you can following college. It is pretty easy to be social while at college because there are a bunch of other kids your same age in your same situation. However, when people go their own ways after college, it can become a real challenge to make friends. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again – eventually you’ll meet some people.
  6. Set goals – Set and work towards goals. There is nothing better at helping yourself overcome and deal with depression than achievement. Once you set one goal and accomplish it, keep setting more and working on them. This will give you a sense of purpose and help you experience personal growth.
  7. Focus on the present – Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself right now is to focus on the present moment. What can you do right now to make yourself happier and overcome your depression? Chances are good that if you take an honest look at your life, you will be able to see voids that need to be filled with positive, productive activities. Don’t dwell on the past times you had in college. They may have been fun times, but right now you are in a rut. Don’t compare the present to the past, focus on what needs to be done right now for your wellbeing.
  8. Stay in touch – If you made good friends in college, make sure you keep in touch with them. Hang out with them when you can and have some more good times. There are plenty of opportunities to stay in touch via social media networks and you can always plan to meet up for dinner and/or a reunion with old friends.
  9. Get a girlfriend/boyfriend – If you are lonely all the time, consider getting into a relationship. Plenty of people are looking for dates after college and with the invention of dating apps and websites, it is pretty easy to find someone that you’ll like. Go out and get a special someone to spend time with – it’ll significantly improve your depression.
  10. Medication – If your depression becomes so severe that you cannot function, you may need medication. Medications can help people that are struggling get through tough times. They are not going to cure you of depression, but may be able to give you a boost to increase your confidence so that you can make much-needed life changes. For more information on overcoming depression without drugs, read the article 10 natural cures for depression.

Did you experience post-college depression? Were you able to overcome it?

If you experienced depression upon graduating from college, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below. By sharing you experience it helps other people experiencing this know that they are not alone. Often times the things we go through in life are to show other people that it can be done – these things help make us stronger. If you are experiencing depression following college and haven’t yet overcome it, why are you depressed?

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{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Nicole Hart June 3, 2014, 8:45 am

    I think one of the reasons is that some people were used in their college lifestyle, their companions/friends but eventually this will be overcome if they will encounter new friends, new companions.

    • Jaz April 9, 2016, 2:07 pm

      I am definitely experiencing it. I just want to start working in my career field and most of the jobs I apply for always say I’m overqualified, etc.

  • Jordan July 9, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I am definitely experiencing post-college depression. In fact, it is a relief to know that there is such a term to identify how I am feeling. In a few weeks, I will move to a new town and search for a job. However, my friends and relationship are scattered now throughout the surrounding states so I feel severely alone. I am usually pretty good at bouncing back from disappointment and change, but this time is more difficult. I really appreciate this article and I look forward to trying the items on your list as resolutions. Thanks!

    • Fares June 17, 2015, 12:35 am

      I am going through the same thing right now. Life is turning out to be the opposite of what I have always imagined. I am moving to a new State alone for a new job and I do not know a single soul where I am going. But at the end of the day all I can do is hope that things will get better and to take action by making sure that it does is really the only way to go about it.

      • Courtney January 28, 2016, 5:01 am

        They always say you should live the life you have imagined but remember this is a process. Just because its the opposite of what you have imagined doesn’t mean this is a stopping point for you. Keep learning more about yourself and being happy with what you have today. Moving to a new city, alone, new job? THAT IS THE BEST THING EVER. Seriously take advantage of it. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Cliche but true.

  • Hannah September 26, 2014, 10:33 pm

    I know exactly how this feels because I’m dealing with it. Almost have a job and trying to stay busy with some books and hobbies, and reaching out to the people I know in the area.

  • Kevin November 10, 2014, 1:11 am

    Currently going through this. I graduated in may and just obtained my first job. However, I’m still constantly upset and feeling isolated. Being at a job where I don’t know anyone and have little experience is not helping so I’m unsure of what to do.

    • Melissa November 2, 2016, 3:46 am

      I feel the same way. Just graduated in May. Am finding it really hard to meet people, and living alone for the first time. My job is a lot of new information and I feel like I don’t know anything. And I’m always exhausted and no longer work out or have anyone to go out with on the weekends. Stuck in a rut.

  • Matt December 11, 2014, 6:32 pm

    I love articles like this. I had moved from a very small farm town to the big city, New York City, for scholarship by a full ride to an acting school. I met people from all over the world, experienced some of the BEST themed parties, most of which I actually hosted. I learned more than I had ever learned in class, and worked consistently hard in all of my classes and personal projects. When you’re in a dorm, or dorm-styled apartment, you’re surrounded by new people, all your age, young and aspiring; full of life and ambition and there’s no ‘adults’ to keep order.

    You learn and live more than you ever have really in high school. And so after you graduate, depression. I had felt a confusing struggle of depression for nearly two years till now, and I’m usually a flat out optimist! I found that what had helped, was being close to any friends around, even if they aren’t your best, and family if you have it. I went broke in NYC, trying to live there, and had to move home. What I found was that independence is what pulled me through. I moved out of my parents with what little money I had and worked and saved.

    I found acting gigs as much as I could, and even got to be on a few television shows in Georgia. I now spend time with my friends back home at least two times a week, see members of my family often, and somehow pulled through with my high school sweetheart. I’m not a genius, but for anyone who would seek advice on this very real depression, independence and taking my life into my own hands was what pulled me out of it. Having your own place is one step closer to building your own world again, like in college, but with less structure.

    It’s scary, but after a few steps in, it’s fun. I believe that in adulthood there can be a time BETTER than college, if you stay true to yourself. I loved reading this article and hope my comment helped anyone. P.S. Always remember, friends from far away miss you too, send them a message, make a skype date; keep their friendship, because it’s a small world and you may see them again.

    • NS April 6, 2015, 9:45 am

      So true… it’s all about learning to be yourself independent of the constant validation that you received before. I’ve also seen from examples that depression usually strikes after you finally achieve what you’ve been struggling for. The struggle ends and then you don’t know what to do next. So its a positive thing to look forward to life with new goals, without overemphasizing on any particular aspiration.

  • NS April 6, 2015, 9:40 am

    It’s really a relief to know there is such a thing as post college depression. I graduated almost two years ago and craved being constantly surrounded by friends and doing things in groups, having the same concerns and worries as the people around you and basically not being alone and totally occupied with no time to dwell on any misfortunes we might have in life. After leaving college my closest friends all got married and moved away or got busy and I excelled in my career got the best job, worked hard to preoccupy myself again, but it never felt the same. Colleagues and college friends can never compare. Just feels like everyone is self contained and you’re the only one looking for the same emotional support from outside.

    But the only way to get out of this is to become friends with yourself, to not need anyone to share your inside jokes with, to be amused at life at people and to feel the love for old times and old friends when real life didn’t really start, when we were still innocent and trusted everyone and shared ourselves openly. I’m still looking for people I can fit in with like before though but I know these people come and go and they give you good times. The one who stay need the most loving and that is you.

    • Grace May 17, 2016, 4:13 am

      Such good advice about being friends with yourself. You sound like someone I would want to be friends with. Have faith that there are more beautiful souls to connect with, you just have to reach out. I love my college friends so much but now that I live a 5 hour flight away from them I refuse to believe I will never feel that sort of love for people again.

  • CH July 3, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I am going through this right now. I was so unbelievably happy at uni, loved my course and how I grew with all the learning and exciting information taught to me. I had an amazing group of friends, all intellectual and some brilliant housemates who I could waste endless amounts of time talking to. I loved my uni city and felt I had my own life, not my parents but something I had worked hard to create. And then I left, and it hit me like a ton of bricks when I got home.

    Not only did I detest living at home before uni, but I had no space I could call my own because my room has been bombarded with my brothers belongings. I had no life purpose because I had no job and my applications always seemed to be rejected. No money to do fun things with ‘friends’ at home, who if I am honest – I had grown apart from anyway and found we had little or nothing in common.

    I have so far been crying every day for 4 days since leaving uni and I’m experiencing panic attacks and anxiety too. I have felt like this before (after a break up) and did bounce back but Uni helped me through that, so I feel like I have lost the environment/friends etc that I could rely on in hard times. I feel very lonely and really hope I start to adjust at some point to being ‘home’. Glad this article highlighted the problem of post-graduate depression because sometimes I feel like I am alone.

    • Rm July 4, 2015, 10:59 am

      I feel your pain. Same exact situation with me. My breakup plays a big part in it too. I think it’s just a transition people must go through in life and get used to it. But after my break up its been rough. And my break up was about 8 months ago or so.

      • Daniel July 18, 2015, 5:59 pm

        I’m with you on the break up. Its been 9 months for me and not much progress. Plus my ex got a new boyfriend. I’ve lost so much motivation and don’t enjoy the things I used to enjoy.

        • Maxine October 19, 2016, 5:40 am

          It’s been a month since my ex and I broke up and that definitely contributed to my post-college depression. :(

  • Rey July 14, 2015, 2:44 am

    I am experiencing a depression hitting me from many angles at once. I finished grad school a year ago and got into my family business. I didn’t really look for jobs after school as I was needed more in my family business. I have recently lost interest in so many things since school. Also I became heart broken a few months back and have thought about the girl everyday. She got a job right out of school and seems a lot happier without me.

    As much as it hurts, I know leaving her alone is for the best. I have sometimes been unable to focus and I have felt like my mind is shrinking at times. Holding up conversations has been a bit more difficult and I am known within my friends as a very social guy. I have just lost all my drive. When work is slow, it becomes very depressing as I am always used to having something to do. During down-times, I end up thinking about the girl I dated and get lost in thought.

    Even more money wouldn’t make me happier. Is this normal? I do not want to get on any medications but I’m losing purpose. I get scared and my mind breaks down. I have never felt anything like this in my life. It has become more difficult to read and sometimes at the gym I just stop working out because my mind just isn’t in it.

    • Joseph January 7, 2016, 5:38 pm

      Everything you just described is completely normal. Obviously, there are different derivatives of normal, but this is certainly not uncommon. I can empathize with you on everything except for the family business, since I’m not sure what that’s like. I can speak to the breakup – and this may make you feel better – don’t think too hard on the past/relationship, because even if that person came back into your life, it may not mean that things will turn around.

      I went through the same thing post-graduation, hadn’t spoken to the person for 5-6 months and got back together and within less than 2 months, realized that all of the same problems were still right there beneath the surface. Thinking about exes and getting back together with them is a common practice for post-grads because it’s familiar, but not necessarily healthy. So my ADVICE, is to start planning toward some career goals that will make YOU happy, give yourself as much times as it takes to go a full week without thinking of your ex, and then leave the door to your life open for others to walk through.

      It won’t turn around overnight, but things WILL get better. :)

    • Pooja August 3, 2016, 8:58 pm

      Hey I am a 3rd year engineering student… I read this article as I wanted a glimpse of the world after college… I will be going through the same situation after 2 years… even I tend to dwell over the past… like life is fun now… but after 2 years life is going to hit hard on my face… school and college life is the best… even the thought of leaving college scares the crap out of me.

      There are times when I don’t focus on the present and keep dwelling on the past… because those were the fun times… you mentioned that sometimes in the gym you stop your workout because your minds keeps wandering around the same thing… same is the case with me… while studying I almost get panic attacks and I keep thinking and worrying as to how am I gonna tackle the situation. How am I gonna handle things after college?

      I even tend to compare as to how things were beautiful back then… good old teenage days… thus leave my mind in the sands of time. How do I cope up with all this? It’s damn hard for me. My piece of mind is on the verge of extinction. I am always down in dumps. Please any suggestion would help.

  • Kiana August 17, 2015, 9:23 am

    Currently going through this now. I graduated 2 months ago and it’s starting to hit me. I don’t know how to transition from going to school and work everyday to absolutely nothing at all. I feel like my confidence is trickling down day by day. But I’m honestly glad that there is a term for students who feel this way. Now I know the steps to take in order to get through this.

  • Patricia August 31, 2015, 11:09 pm

    I read this article to see what I could do to best help my son who graduated a year ago, seems depressed, not putting in the effort to get a job, angry at me…I’m at my wits end. Any suggestions from you guys and gals living it please advise! My advice to all of you is to be more self loving, take care of your bodies…exercise even a daily walk, stay in touch with one good true friend, envision the life you want. I’m praying for everyone of you. Life gets easier, that’s the truth ❤️

    • Erica January 12, 2016, 1:45 am

      Thank you for those beautiful words. <3

  • ryan September 25, 2015, 12:45 pm

    No one’s posted here for a while but I figured I would put myself out there. I graduated this past May with two classes to finish this semester. Guess what? I started my first full time job a week before the classes even finished. I was so busy I didn’t even realize I spend almost two months without “hanging out” or spending time with any friends. Two whole months! In college I felt like I made a new friend every single day.

    Throughout this time I was even being social by going to the gym 5-6 days a week (which is too much and exhausting). I had the confidence to ask a girl out from there a few times (denied repeatedly). What I’m getting too is that I have had a hard time transitioning from college life. I don’t think that I will ever be that social again and I can accept that fact, but this new life just isn’t satisfying. I think I have a lot in common with many of the posters here.

    It seems like many of us are making positive steps (going to the gym, good job, etc.), and I feel that this is partially the problem. When in college we had nothing to lose and although our life showed a shaky future we could put it on the back burner and live life in the present. Now we have life figured out and lack new goals. My goal is to move out because my negativity with life is now effecting my relationship with my Mom.

    I was looking forward to moving home again but we just cannot get along. I think she is to blame by not giving me space but the truth is shes actually giving me lots of space. I think I’m turning narcissistic and blaming her. It’s hard to adjust to this new life which we have another 50+ years to adjust to, but I think we would all be better off learning to adjust sooner than later. So how do we do it?

    I think one step I can make is that I want to help you adjust. I want to be there for you to vent to and gather advice from. In return I want someone to be the same for me. Send me an email ryantjones2010[AT]yahoo.com if you are interested.

    • Holly September 28, 2016, 6:49 pm

      Hi Ryan, Thanks for your post. I agree with what you had to say. My email is Holly.Moss[@]aol.com if you want to keep in touch. Blessings, Holly

  • Shasta October 21, 2015, 4:17 am

    When I graduated from high school and went to college my mother moved from Alaska to Utah. This mean I would never go home again. I started college in Idaho and finished in Utah. I moved home with my mother. I planned to find a job and save and then move out on my own. I couldn’t find a job in my field. I took a job with an insurance company with the idea that someday I would go into management but after two weeks I was fired.

    I was able to find another job but there was no future in the company but I got up and went to work everyday. I had wanted to have a social life but it didn’t happen. I got active in a church group but most of the people were not college graduates and I was interested in having a relationship and getting married but there were few men and as I was 21 I wanted to find a guy who was about 25 and most of the guys were my age or younger and only high school graduates.

    I tried to make friends with people in the neighborhood. I would ask them to go to a movie with me but they had other plans. Most of the people in the area had grown up together and I was the newcomer and I couldn’t fit in. I was really frustrated and spent a lot of time alone. After nearly a year I moved to Seattle and that was the best thing I ever did.

  • Erica January 12, 2016, 1:43 am

    I wasn’t even sure post college depression was actually a term, but I became so desperate that I typed it into google. This site was great about informing me in ways I can be more aware and how to overcome it. It has been very difficult though. I started experiencing these symptoms right before I graduated college and even more so after.

    For me, what I struggle with is the not knowing what I can contribute to now that I don’t have assignments, tests, and things to keep me busy. Patience is something I keep hearing about so I try to keep that in mind and slow down. The feeling of it all though, is something I can’t put words to.

    • Holly September 28, 2016, 6:52 pm

      Oh my goodness, I totally understand. I am used to planning, drafting, and writing until there was steam coming out of my ears! Maybe you can try a hobby? I know I would like to start writing again, as soon as I can work up the energy. I totally feel your pain. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marissa January 15, 2016, 8:04 pm

    My case is a bit different I guess… I went back to school in my mid 30’s to complete my bachelor’s. I was promoted to an amazing position within my company so I already have the job I wanted. Why am I depressed?? The only thing I can think of was the lack of celebration. I haven’t had a physical graduation yet and other than a nice steak dinner with my husband, I did nothing to celebrate.

    I didn’t even really tell my co-workers so coming into work one day with a degree seemed like it meant nothing. I don’t know… maybe I should throw myself a party? It just seems kind of ridiculous to have a graduation party at 35. Any thoughts??

    • Ryan June 9, 2016, 7:08 pm

      I hear you. I went back to college at 31 to finish my associates degree and to work on my bachelors and now it feels like everything is downhill from here. I graduate tomorrow (at age 35) and with no employment prospects or graduate school acceptances in sight I feel kind of lost. It’s like the academic bubble I created for myself over the last three years bursts. I took time out of the real world and now it’s time to reenter it, but this time it doesn’t feel the same. BTW, there’s nothing wrong with throwing yourself a party.

  • May January 22, 2016, 8:32 am

    I am experiencing Post College Depression, I graduated from college last April 2015. Since then I had not applied in any job yet. I’m afraid that I am not good enough to compete with other people, and maybe they would think I am a loser. I am already experienced all of these symptoms. I’m actually this kind of person who’s dependent and close to her friends than her my family, so I can’t tell the people at home and in addition by classmates and friends already have jobs and it makes me feel more stupid, incompetent and useless.

    • Jeff Young March 10, 2016, 6:08 pm

      May, you’re going through what many of us went through, post college depression. We were so happy or else comfortable under the secure community of college life and now it’s all gone. The last thing you want to think about is being back on the college campus. I had the post college blues bad. You seem to have it worse. I also felt helpless and useless because I couldn’t find a career.

      My ‘cure’ and happiness was to join the military, which offers its own community, security, sense of purpose, and meeting people your own age. The military may not be for you but it gave me all the experience I needed to fill a resume so that when I eventually left the military, I was truly ‘prepared’ for life and was able to find a civilian job/career. It’s not necessary to spend 20 years.

      You can do as little as 2 years. But I have to tell you, get BUSY now. That is the only way to get out of your depression otherwise it may get worse. Redouble efforts at finding an entry level job; contemplate graduate school (that may not be an economically viable solution); or consider the military. People always talk about volunteer work, but volunteer work doesn’t pay your rent and your bills.

      Good luck. Trust me. You do have value as a person. But you have to find it for yourself. No one else is going to do this for you, believe me.

    • Eric June 17, 2016, 3:27 pm

      Keep getting back out there May. I can definitely relate to the constant negative mindset. It is very difficult to break, however, I’ve found the best way is to find a new hobby by pursuing something that peaks your curiosity. Picking up a new hobby in college was the best decision I ever made, and enabled me to perform better in all aspects of my life.

      I too have had difficulty post college after moving to a new state, however, knowing this it allows me to not settle and continue pursuing things that truly interest me. You cannot stop until you find what makes you excited to wake up every day and continually improve. Don’t be afraid to take that chance.

    • Holly September 28, 2016, 6:57 pm

      Hi May, It’s so easy to feel like you aren’t as good as the next employee prospect. I just want to say that you shouldn’t listen to those lies! Even if you do not get the job you apply for, you should be proud that you put yourself out there, and you never know, you may just get the job! I know it’s so hard to believe in yourself, but you have to. Hang in there.

  • Carly February 22, 2016, 2:37 am

    I graduated from college almost 2 years ago and moved back to my home city, which was emptied of my best high school friends. It’s been horrible, despite my attempts at “getting out there” to do activities and join clubs. It’s very hard to make friends, I’ve noticed, because a lot of coworkers have significant others and families or live outside the city where we work. Many people aren’t looking for new friends.

    Nevertheless, there are people out there like us who struggle with loneliness. If nothing else, this experience can teach us to be sensitive to new people in town, and remind us that it’s important to include and invite people in our lives and community. You never know who’s lonely and not saying it.

    • Vanessa September 27, 2016, 6:11 am

      Thanks I moved back to hometown too, and it feels like sh-t! Like I’ve outgrown this city and all the people in it, but cannot afford to go out and be on my own!

  • Jeff Young March 10, 2016, 6:00 pm

    Hey there, young people. Post-college graduation depression is not new. It’s been around for as long as anyone can remember going back far into the 20th century when post-college grads talked about it. Like you guys and gals, college life and college campus becomes more ‘home’ than your real ‘home’. Four years later, it’s all over and you feel despair in late May or June because you won’t be returning to campus that September.

    I can recommend some obvious remedies but really, you need to do it. Assumption: You are probably unemployed and have little idea what to do next. This compares unfavorably to your college pals who luckily found a job after college; are going to post-graduate school (law, medical, business); or are now in the military. Staying busy like your pals above will CURE your depression because now you have purpose and you are preoccupied with work, post-grad school, or military service.

    Unemployment and idleness are the big twins of frustration and depression. Like many of you, I didn’t have a job and was idle. I unsuccessfully looked into MBA programs, mostly to get back onto a college campus and that was an unhealthy plan of action. My personal cure was to join the military. Looking back on how much I enjoyed military service, I should have joined the very summer I graduated from college.

    If you’re not sure, military service can be 2, 3, 4, 6 years, depending upon your chosen contract. You choose to be an enlisted person with a plethora of technical career fields; a commissioned officer in management; or a warrant officer that combines technical training expertise and management but limited promotion depth.

    I remember one morning walking to work in my uniform on a wet spring morning in Germany on an American base, my boots making crunching sounds on the gravel. I was so happy with my new career and its future that I reminisced about my post college blues and could smile. I didn’t feel blue at all.

  • Reece March 23, 2016, 3:40 pm

    Hi, I have been experiencing this myself since graduation, and I am now studying my Master’s degree. For my project I am working on the creation of a platform which could help recent graduates through this crisis, by helping them discover exactly what they want out of life. I need to carry out several online focus groups for my research regarding how a ‘quarter-life crisis’ makes people feel, and whether they believe the proposed platform would help people get through this.

    Participation would be greatly appreciated. The focus group would act as an ongoing conversation where people can just reply when ever suits them (like a group chat), you not need to put designated time aside to participate. Please contact me on reecedrew94[@]yahoo.co.uk if you are interested. Thank you!

    • Cynthia April 26, 2016, 9:50 am

      Hey Reece, just want to ask you if this focus group is still available because I’ve been struggling with this problem for more than 6 months.

  • Rae May 8, 2016, 6:04 am

    I’ve been out of college for a year and I still have the same job I had while I was in college. I’ve put in over 50 applications, went to job interviews, and referred my resume to many companies, organizations, and people of different fields. No luck. I am falling into post graduate depression.

    I’m thinking about going back to school for my Master’s, but I’m afraid I’ll only be going just to have something to do and not because my heart is in it. I don’t even want to do anymore applications because I’m feeling like “what’s the point?” I receive rejection emails almost everyday and I’m ashamed of it. I’m embarrassed because it seems like everyone is moving forward and I’m stuck in this pit.

    • Grace May 17, 2016, 4:26 am

      Get a job selling cars and in your spare time, do some volunteering/interning at the company you would love to work for. You will become interesting and more valuable with sales experience, and you will greatly improve your people/communication skills. Then start applying for more desirable jobs again in a year/18 months. Make life happen don’t let it happen to you! Cheering for you. :)

  • Grusella Fitzpatrick August 4, 2016, 3:29 pm

    Thank you so much everyone for sharing your experiences and thank you for posting this article. I graduated college in May of this year with my bachelor of arts, and I’m in my early 20s at home with my parents and haven’t figured out what I want to do, even if during my senior year the parents of my peers, professors and peers kept asking me what I wanted to do after graduation.

    Fortunately none of my college friends asked me about my post-grad plans, or at the least we all rarely talked about it since none of us really knew what we wanted to do after graduation either and we were all already quite burned out from academics and college life in general. I have dealt with depression since I was young, and it really impacted me during my four years of college and made it hard to function on a daily basis and focus on the present all the time.

    I filled several journals during my four years of college detailing my victories and hardships, and a few weeks ago I shredded all but one of these journals because little did I know that I could use all the struggles I went through in college to inspire other youth going through struggles. And I’ve been ruminating over the past few days how poor of a decision I made to shred my journals. Even though I shredded them because at the moment I was ready to let go of the past, but then a couple of weeks after doing that, my mind is screaming at me how foolish I was.

    It’s just scary that I’d want to hold onto four years of stress, struggle and negativity. I haven’t thrown out my diploma and commencement program notes though. I hope I can eventually move on from this because it’s hard feeling so attached to my bittersweet years of college.

  • Kim August 15, 2016, 5:08 am

    I am going through the same thing. I’m glad to know that there are other people out there who are experiencing this…I’m in grad school at a different university by my house and things are extremely different than my undergraduate years. I thought it would go away a few months after graduation but I still have this feeling that something isn’t right.

    I hope that once I start my internship in a few weeks that I will feel a sense of purpose again & like I’m where I need to be in life. I think that leaving some of the great friends I made has contributed to my depression. I wish it would go away soon… I have really good job prospects for the future but my mood doesn’t reflect any of my accomplishments. It’s horrible.

  • Amanda August 20, 2016, 1:25 am

    Going through it now. I graduated 4 years ago and am still struggling to find a job in my field. I went back last year to increase my chances and get another certification in the field and now that I’m done again, I don’t know what to do. I’m so used to having to do something that having nothing is driving me insane. I’m looking for new hobbies and I live this article. Thank you!

  • Shelby August 29, 2016, 5:23 pm

    Mine has been much longer lasting than just a few months post graduation. It’s been a year and a half now, I finally admitted that the field (sales and business) I went into is not for me, it has been soul sucking and extremely depressing and stressful, I’ve been using alcohol as a crutch to self medicate and recently gotten onto anti anxiety medication.

    I’ve gained weight and am constantly having panic attacks, just now I have admitted all of this to myself and am going back to school for a career I have thoroughly researched and (fingers crossed) will help cut and change a lot of the bad habits I’ve gotten into. I don’t want to blame the job, but my issues have never been as bad as they are now.

  • Eddy August 31, 2016, 7:30 am

    Damn do I miss college. I got a very average job 2 weeks after graduating. Got a new car, a job… criminal justice major but when I hear certain songs or recall on memories damn do I get sad as hell. I miss the parties, the routines, the studying and all nighters. Then partying the next day having a blast, being free and discovering life. Now I work a lot and feel like I have nothing to look forward at the end of the work week. My girlfriend just can’t relate. I would give my bachelors to an 18 yr old in a heartbeat if I could restart as a College Freshie all over again. Forever living Asher Roth’s “I love College” song.

  • Carolyn September 7, 2016, 1:53 am

    It feels so good to know I’m not alone. All of your responses have thoroughly encouraged me and I’m so grateful I came across this article. This transparency is definitely very therapeutic. I graduated college last May and spent seven grueling months in the job search process. I obtained a seasonal job where they wanted to keep me past the season, but the entry level job didn’t have steady hours and the pace was so unrealistic towards the end of the season that it landed me in the hospital for stress.

    Ultimately, I ended up resigning. I just got a new job in an area I like, outside of my field, about four months later. In lieu of the initial and recent job search process and former job, I realized all of my childhood friends had gone far and wide and my college friends engaged and in their careers. I tried dating again after my college sweetheart for the first time in about a year, and it ended horribly a couple of months after my resignation

    Sometimes I feel I don’t have anyone to talk to, and get caught up in my thoughts which gets me more depressed. Journaling helps to a certain extent, but nothing replaces having great friends in apartment mates when you’re going through. It seems life is causing us to drift. Now that I’ll have an income again, I’m looking forward to the tips suggested in this article. And each response just lifted my mood to a much better place. Thanks everyone <3

  • Vanessa September 27, 2016, 6:01 am

    Thanks for this post, I really needed to read this. I graduated college at 31 so kind of a late bloomer but so grateful I finished and got my bachelors in business administration. I had the idea that once I finished I would have this great job and buy a home, only to find out that you need more job experience than sometimes 5 years plus, so I had to take a job I felt overqualified for to gain more clerical administration experience.

    It’s only 13 bucks an hour but it’s a hard pill to swallow when friends around you who don’t have a degree are getting paid way more… anyways my social life sucks since everyone around me has kids or a husband and I often feel alone. When I’m so used to being the life of the party, I don’t even feel like drinking anymore. I desire a new group of friends or at least a boyfriend. It’s just so hard now to find available people or a good job. That’s it. I feel better.

  • Holly September 28, 2016, 6:44 pm

    I feel this article is spot on. I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. My story is similar. For the past 3 years I have been in school and working about 25-30 hours per week. I was always on the go and stressed out. Due to personal issues, I had to take this semester off (which is my last to graduate) and continue next semester.

    Honestly, I feel angry and irritable because like everyone else mentioned, my world is completely inside out at the moment. It’s extremely hard to go from working so hard you want to quit to having extreme amounts of time on your hands. Why doesn’t college prepare us for that-for living in the real world?

    Thankfully, I have a job (have had it for the past 6 years) and family and friends who are a phone call away. However, the pain is real. Instead of embracing this time off, I feel confused and overwhelmed. Little things I use to enjoy (like getting coffee, going to dance classes, etc) seem so far away due to my depression.

    I know that I will eventually snap out of this, but I think colleges should teach students how to handle life outside of constant support from teachers, difficult and challenging assignments, and the constant social aspect associated with classes. My thoughts and love go out to each of you. We can do this together! xoxo

  • Caitlyn October 31, 2016, 1:18 pm

    I certainly felt a depression after graduation. I felt as though, I was becoming a “FAILURE”, just because I wasn’t succeeding right away. It was important to me to begin a career, and bring on additional purpose to my life. It was also worrisome because I know my student loans would be kicking in within 6 months. I was very unsure of my future and how to navigate my life to what I wanted in the long run (which I was also unsure about).

    I eventually got a position that I really wanted, my dream job if you will… And it all began to fall into place. It is still hard adjusting to being an adult: making friends, building your roots in your new locations, etc. But I am lucky to have a job that I love, where some of my fellow graduates are still looking at home. It is a hard phase of life, but it is such an important transition!!

  • Cristin November 24, 2016, 1:29 am

    Under the category “Get a Job” the author writes “its tough to be depressed when you’re busy.” This is wrong. After graduating I now work 2 jobs in retail and service industry. I sleep four hours a night and struggle to pay rent. These are the exact conditions for depression.

    What causes post-college depression is not that we fail to transition into adulthood (especially for those individuals who go to school later in life.) The emotional pain can be caused by the understanding that you’ve wasted X amount of years of unpaid labor in hopes of earning income at a higher rate.

    Spending thousands of dollars and years of your life in a bad investment can be painful. I think this article trivializes the lives of people who have enrolled in college to try to pull themselves out of poverty only to end up with more debt.

  • Mark November 27, 2016, 7:37 am

    I felt alone with post collegiate angst but reading this article and comments have helped me realize that I’m not alone. In college, I made many new friends, had a blast going to sporting events and although school was tough, I made it through. After graduation, real life hit hard core.

    I had to move in with my parents for a full year after graduation since I couldn’t find a job in my field. With a Bachelor’s Degree, I was mowing grass and shoveling snow. I have never felt more like a complete failure. Once I did find a job in my field, I had to move to a brand new state where I get paid 15 grand less than my college classmates who got to stay in-state, where I don’t know a soul and now I’m having a terrible time making new friends.

    Living in a town of 800 people makes finding friends tougher too. :/ Seeing all my college friends get jobs in-state, get married, getting pets and buying new cars/houses has me extremely jealous of them. I keep thinking I’m no where close in life to where they are at. I’m grateful to have a job in my field now but the worst part about the job is living in a brand new place with no friends or even young people to socialize with.

    I’m finding my college buddies are becoming more distant in their careers, relationships and even marriages. I want to feel happy for them but I find it’s not fair that I’m struggling while they are happy. I know time heals all things but I’m wondering when this post-college depression ends.

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