The Lost Year: Insta vs Reality of Life After Uni

Updated: Jun 7

After the best years of your life surrounded by your friends, going out whenever you like, working hard to smash your grades and having full independence, it all suddenly comes to an end and suddenly you are catapulted into the big bad world and it can feel very overwhelming. You may have also had the best summer of your life celebrating freedom which adds to the emotions that are to come. You move back home, you’re parents are asking your whereabouts, you have thousands of pounds worth of debt looming above your head, you’re being rejected from multiple jobs and your friends are all scattered across the country!

49% of graduates stated that their mental wellbeing declined after leaving university and post-uni depression is definitely something that should be taken more seriously.

The dreaded question from family and friends: “what are you going to do now?” is very overwhelming and I think a lot of you can relate, you become quite defensive when answering. This is purely because the majority of us have absolutely no idea. This is nothing to be ashamed about and eventually everything will fall into place but it’s no surprise that so many post-uni students feel lost and like they don’t have a purpose.

Some tips that I think could help you during this time in your life are to continue with a routine. Try and wake up at a relatively early and similar time each day and create a bit of a morning routine, whether this is the gym, yoga, journaling, emails. This can help you create more structure in your life and feel like you have a purpose. Work out what you’re passionate about, try new hobbies and attend events where you can meet new people. If you want to travel, do it! It could also be a good idea to get a part-time or full-time job in a café or shop so that you have some money behind you and also encourages you to have a schedule and purpose.

Try and enjoy where you are now and do not compare yourself to others! 44% of the graduates surveyed also said that they felt like their friends were doing way better than them. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and everyone is in their own lane. I can guarantee your friends will be struggling with another aspect of their life that you don’t know about and nothing will ruin your 20’s more than thinking you should have your life together already.

Open up and talk about it- the worst thing about this period of time is that social isolation and feelings of loneliness are so dominant and just under half of graduates experience this! If you have someone that you can turn to during this time, please start talking about your emotions as they will probably be able to relate to.

Don’t take the job rejections personally and if they don’t reply, it’s their loss! I have been rejected from so many applications and at times it can be quite soul destroying but just remember, you are going to find a job eventually and everything happens for a reason so one rejection is just leading you a step closer to your dream job.

Also, don’t say yes to job offers if you are not fully happy with how they sound or have a bad gut instinct. Although it can be tempting to take up any offer as you are feeling desperate and want money, there would be nothing worse than ending up in something you hate and this will impact your mental health even more so than being unemployed.

Whatever happens, you are going to be okay and in a few years back you will be thinking “wow I should have enjoyed all of that free time I had’. Be proud of how hard you are trying and good things come to those who wait!

An amazing group, @galswhograduate- founded by Bronte King, provide support for students post uni life which is amazing and it is a great platform to build connections with other people in a similar position. Student Minds is a UK mental health charity that also offer support so go check them both out.

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