Picture this: during your time in college you networked with classmates, done a few internships while juggling a job or two or three along with being a full time (>12 credits) or part-time (<12 credits) college student. All that hard work pays off in the form of a degree and usually a celebration with friends and family before you begin your venture in a full-time company or creating your own business?
Well… that’s not always the case. In my personal situation, it took four months before I found a full-time position relating to my studies which I obtained a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science. When I was getting an interview after interview and rejection after rejection, I started to feel like what I did prior to graduation was pointless. It was as if experience, something that ALL companies look for, didn’t matter. Then one day, a Fortune 500 company picked me up and I was in the process of becoming a financial advisor for them. I didn’t limit myself while going through the application process. I’ve seen science majors get a career in engineering and mass communication majors go into law firms. Due to the company misrepresenting and omitting information about my starting process and the licenses I was working on, I walked away from a career that paid 42,000 a year along with commission.
I found myself slipping into a dark hole each time I failed a licensing exam and the retakes. Doubts crept into my mind causing me to question if I was doing the right things during my time in college. Along with those doubts, I started feeling insecure due to a summer of lurking on social media seeing all the “I started my dream job” and baecation posts while I was broken mentally and finding myself juggling two to three jobs so that I can distract myself from those insecurities. Due to how I was mentally distracting myself, I started to feel like I was a terrible friend and relative. I was avoiding people’s text messages and calls whenever they would ask me, “How things been since graduation?”, “Have you found a full-time spot yet?”, and more after I walked away from a Fortune 500 Company. I started to belittle my past achievements because I didn’t get the full-time spot I wanted when I wanted it.
“College shouldn’t be the best years of your life, college should set you up for the best years of your life.”- Unknown
I stumbled upon that quote back in 2016 and it was a sign for me that the plans I was executing and would execute in college will set me up for better things after I graduate. When I was battling post-graduation depression, I kept telling myself that quote. I began forming a plan. I started to treat the job search like a job. For 6-8 hours a day for five days a week, I was applying for jobs, editing my resume, cover letters and more to best make myself a pleasing candidate towards companies. I also made time to work out. There are many benefits to exercising physically and mentally such as lowering stress levels, improving sleep, and feeling more energetic after a workout just to name a few. The people I was working out with whether it was in a Gold’s Gym or on the playground helped me maintain my social skills. It was truly an escape because I couldn’t talk to many people due to the fear of how people would judge someone who had great college success and end up not doing anything right out of college [although it takes over or under five months for new graduates to find a new work opportunity].
I had to isolate myself from the noise. What I mean by that, social media. This is a topic I covered several times in this article but being on social media too much can make oneself project insecurities that aren’t even real. To give more transparency on my experience, I also have a twin who signed a contract with a dream career of his and basically got everything going for him outside of the job: solid car, a beautiful and exclusive relationship, great job stories, and stability. Then for my situation, I was saving up for a car but had to put that money for a place on short notice, an unstable schedule that revolved around what job or jobs I was working that day along with working out and applying for careers. I found myself on social media like Instagram and Snapchat less and more on LinkedIn. LinkedIn brought me a fresh timeline of people giving career advice and more formal opportunities to network with supervisors, company leaders, and more. The app allows users to apply for jobs through the app especially with a filter known as Easy Apply. With the easy apply filter, the app filtered jobs that had that feature to where you could just send a resume and answer at most four general questions and the company will look at your application. I transferred myself to a fresher timeline and finding myself being more inspired than being lost at random meme videos or pitting myself back to the insecurities I iterated earlier in this article. An alternate method is that you could make another Instagram account but follow people that you see yourself becoming like a GaryVee, radio DJ’s, mostly professional accounts, and you would still get that Instagram feel when you’re scrolling on social media.
Another way that I was getting out of my depression was to reach out to friends I hadn’t talked to in a while. I used one day each week to just relax (no job applying and not work unless I was scheduled) and just chat with friends as I was practicing self-care. Just reaching out to people and cracking jokes and catching up with them helped me get my mind right to tackle the new week, the upcoming interview, the new job, a workout, to mentally prepare for a social event, and more. I hope that my transparency and pieces of advice to overcome post-graduation depression helps you out greatly. Please remember that the mission is about progression, whether it’s mental health, physical, or working little by little towards occupational goals. Slow progress is better than no progress. The Mission Is Too Great.
Jay Guevara (@justinhisprime)