Kenya: To Avoid Getting Depressed After Graduation, Plan in Advance

I remember looking forward to my graduation from the moment I set foot in university. My goal was to bag the degree and secure a good job. Four years later and the D-day was finally here.

Adorned in my neatly ironed gown and new outfit, I made my way into the graduation square. All smiles and filled with a sense of self pride - Mama I made it!

The celebrations came and went. After all settled down, it was time to plot the next step: either further my studies or find a job. I opted for the latter and once I got a grip, I would implement the former.

My job searching journey officially commenced. I visited job sites daily. I sent out word to employed family and friends in case something came up at their places of work.

Frustration

Days turned into weeks, then months and eventually a year, and counting. Frustration began to kick in. What I had envisioned was nothing compared to what I was experiencing. I began to question so many things in my life. Had I taken the wrong course? What am I not doing right? It became clear to me that I was going through "post-graduate stress".

This can be described as feelings of sadness and impaired functioning that graduates experience as they transition from college into the world of work. It is caused by number of factors, including the hustle of getting employment.

Recent studies reveal that millennials aged between 18 and 25 have high level of depression and anxiety, with job concerns topping their list of worries.

So, how can one prevent or overcome "post-graduate stress" or depression? Plan for the next step even before graduation.

Have an idea of what you will do as you transition. For those living in college, plan for accommodation, including moving back home. Explore career opportunities or additional schooling with the help of a mentor or career counsellor. Have a daily routine that keeps your mental health in check. It may include exercising, or journaling.

Talk to friends or family about your feelings and concerns and take time off social media to avoid comparing your life to that of your peers. Most importantly, keep hope alive.

Shirley recently graduated from the University of Nairobi.

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