(Rock Hill, S.C.) — For many college seniors approaching graduation in May, trying to figure out the next step can be a daunting process, which can include applying for jobs and determining what career path is best.
The transition from a school environment, filled with friends and social activities, to adulthood, filled with work and responsibility, can be a drastic change.
Thus, many young people find themselves experiencing post-graduation depression or what some have called a “quarter-life crisis.”
According to Mental Health Daily, the top symptoms of post-college depression include addiction, confusion, fear, loneliness and joblessness.
“I’d say the day of graduation was a high; all your friends and family are there celebrating you and your accomplishments. Immediately after, I think there was an inevitable downfall,” said Kali Coleman, a 2017 graduate of Winthrop University.
“I think it happens for most post-grads. You spend all your life having something to look forward to.”
Coleman said struggling to find a job in media contributed to her depression after graduation.
“Jobs in your specific field are incredibly hard to secure and if you don’t have anything lined up there is nothing there, nothing to look forward to,” she said. “That’s a depressing thought and that’s what I went through after graduating.”
Tom Injaychock, associate director of Winthrop’s Center for Career and Civic Engagement, said securing a job before graduation can put a student in a good place.
“When students tell me they’ve found a position, it’s like a weight has been lifted off of them, because now all they have to do is worry about graduating school, which is still a process,” said Injaychock.
He said as seniors begin their search for a job, it’s important to note the process cannot be done overnight.
“The reality is that the sooner they start, the better off they will be. The average time for a person to find a career position, not just a job, but a career position is about nine months,” said Injaychock.
“So if you take it and you don’t start looking for a career position until after you graduate in May, that puts you pretty much into the fall as far as that goes.”
Injaychock also touts the importance of networking.
“Doing informational interviews and trying to reach out to people that you know, so that you can talk to them and let them know what you’re trying to look for. They may not know anything about mass communication, but in you letting them know that that’s what you’re looking for, they may know somebody,” he said.
Coleman said networking helped her find a job and she advises recent grads to stick it out, because things will get better.
“One day a fellow Winthrop graduate posted online that her company in (New York City) was looking for an editorial intern. At this point, I hadn’t applied to a media job in well over a month. I had given up,” said Coleman.
“But something told me to try and I sent my resume and portfolio into the editor and got an email back the next day. After a phone interview, I followed up and waited to hear back, each day thinking it would be just like all the other opportunities that I never heard back from. Finally, the day after Christmas, I heard that they wanted me for the position,” she said.
“Most of the time the people you had classes with are more than happy to help you out. Use, but don’t abuse, those resources” said Coleman.
“My biggest piece of advice would just be to know that life will be rough for awhile. It just will be. I don’t think anyone prepares you well for that.”