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Home I have just graduated and I know I should be happier, but I'm not! What's happening?

I have just graduated and I know I should be happier, but I'm not! What's happening?


Is it normal to feel sad after college or grad school? It seems like the feeling of sadness, even emptiness, after graduating from university is not being talked about much. 

Although not an official medical condition, many young adults share feelings of sorrow related to the end of their academic life and starting life outside of school. 

These feelings of grief often resolve as time passes, and the young person adjusts to the new life season. However, in some cases, the symptoms progress to depression. 

Statistics on depression among young adults comparing 2010 to 2020 rates show that the number of people with depression doubled.

What are the factors that trigger post graduation sadness? 

A lot of our milestones, happy memories, engagements, achievements, things that define our identity often occur in life seasons we spend the most of our time and energy on. Some have spent 4 to even 6 years in university and graduate school, and more than 10 years in elementary and secondary school prior to that, so ending this season would feel like a huge life transition. 

  • Feelings that come from life transition. Knowing that so many changes are coming to one’s life may feel overwhelming. It will affect our schedule, social life, and even place of residence.

  • Anxiety from the prospect of job hunting. With the news showing how difficult it is to find a job in today’s economy, fresh graduates may feel fearful of what their future might bring. When most jobs require an applicant to have years of experience, it is definitely challenging to find jobs that pay well and accept those who have minimal or no work experience, which adds to feelings of worry.

  • The pressure from paying student loans. Majority of the  US student body graduates with student loan debt, with debts averaging 35,000 dollars. This pressure to pay back the loan can put so much burden on graduates and negatively affects their view of the future. 

  • Loneliness from change in social circles. A big part of what makes university life so comforting is the group of friends and social engagements that you have formed through the years. 

However, graduating from school and starting a job means that there are fewer opportunities to meet with the same group of friends as many of you would move to different work places. 

What are other factors that increase the strain of post graduation sadness? 

Other aspects in life can worsen the stress of transitioning to a new season. These include: 

  • Having other mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression
  • Substance abuse with drugs or alcohol
  • Feeling of being in a minority group, lack of support
  • Having family history with major mental health problems
  • Having physical illness
  • Having trauma from past experiences

As you prepare for a new chapter in your life, you can take your favorite parts of academic life, especially those that were beneficial for your mental health, and see how you can still apply these things to your daily habits. These may include your love for an active lifestyle, or making time to meet friends. 

If you see yourself feeling the symptoms of post grad sadness or even signs of depression, please know that you are not alone. 

Seek help by connecting with supportive loved ones or with a trained crisis counselor, or mental health professional near you. 

Many career opportunities are waiting for qualified talents in the medical and mental health field! Find them now and connect with clients looking for top talent.   

I have just graduated and I know I should be happier, but I'm not! What's happening?
Brandon Resasco