Graduating during a global pandemic isn’t ideal and its certainly not what any of us had dreamed of. Finishing University has always been daunting and full of uncertainties, but for the Class of 2020 things are even more of a challenge. However, here are some ways to face the challenge head on and look after your graduate mental health.
Transitioning from Uni life to Home life
Dealing with change can be tough and even tougher if you suffer with mental health issues. Graduating is change. Leaving Uni and moving back home is the reality for many graduates, and even more so during a Global Pandemic. Being at home is totally different to living in student accommodation or in a house with friends, but just as you adapted to this, you will be able to adapt again. It is important that during this adjustment period you look after your mental health. At university you learn to be independent, make your own choices and grow as a person. It can be difficult moving home to a setting where previously you had been more dependent on others. It’s natural to be homesick for you Uni life. You aren’t the only one! Graduates of 2020 have had to tackle the transition from Uni life to home life during a global pandemic, with social distancing rules keeping you away from family and friends. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed!
However, it is important to take time to be by yourself if you can and to respect others’ boundaries. It won’t just be an adjustment for you as a graduate, but also for your parents or siblings.
It is important to get fresh air and socialise within social distancing guidelines if you feel able to! Talking with others and taking time to look after your wellbeing will help your mindset and mood, and enable you to think forward to the future with a clearer head.
Starting conversations about your anxieties and worries can be difficult, but it is important to share these thoughts with people you trust. Talking through your plans for graduation, employment and the future might seem like an impossible task at the moment, but having some flexible plans and ideas will help you take care of your graduate mental health in the long run. Try to stay connected with others, whether that is friends and family at home or your uni mates. Talk to people you trust via phone, messenger, video call or social media.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and feel like you need more support, please do reach out and have those conversations with relevant individuals, whether that is parents, friends or your GP. It is OK to feel not OK!
There are a number of recommended support networks by the NHS and often your university will be able to provide support, even as a graduate!
Creating a healthy mindset and healthy habits is an investment in your own future wellbeing!
Take the pressure off
As graduates, we often feel an immense pressure to have our lives planned out and our jobs sorted before we graduate. But this is not a reality for the majority of us! You have just finished a three year or maybe even longer degree, give yourself time to rest and recuperate. Make you a priority; it is not selfish! If you want to search and apply for jobs straight after you graduate that is ok, but also prioritise time for your own wellbeing and know your limits. Graduating in the time of COVID-19 brings with it a whole load of different pressures, especially within the job market. Try not to be too hard on yourself; you will get to where you want to be! Most importantly, don’t compare your progress to others; we all work at different speeds. Remember: slow and steady wins the race! When you let go of being perfect, you allow yourself to grow and express yourself!
Know that you are not alone:
We have spent the last six months with complete uncertainty! Not knowing how uni life will look, not knowing how we will be assessed, not knowing when we will graduate and not knowing whether we will get jobs straight away! It might sound cliché to say, but we all are in the same boat! It is important to know that you are not alone. We have graduated and are beginning our careers within a tough job market and time of economic anxiety.
It is important to support each other, champion each other’s successes and spread love and kindness. Lift each other up and share guidance. Offer others support and build your network with others in a similar position!
Even when you get knocked back and feel insecure, know that you are not alone! Cheer others on and know that your time will come!
Article written by Rebecca White
- The impact of COVID on student employment.
- An unprecedented final year.
- Why you don’t have to be a social butterfly at uni.