Post-Graduate Depression

Dear Friend,

You have graduated from college. Your parents and relatives have congratulated you but there remains a doubt that your accomplishments are worthy is of a congratulations. But you smile and nod. After all, it may be the last time cash tucked in greeting card wishes come in the mail.

I’ve seen the days you’ve spent pouring over cover letters and resumes. I know job searching seems like a black hole, a bottomless pit where you throw all of your career dreams and future aspirations. Networking becomes a dirty word and if you have to attempt one more phone interview or draft one more inquiry e-mail…well what choice do you have?

Or maybe you already have a job. I hope it is everything you wanted but maybe it leaves something to be desired. Your working life is broken into two categories–big and small–without Goldilocks’ approval of “just right”. Your cubicle, paycheck, meaningful romantic relationships, checking account? Too small. Your student loans, job aspirations, responsibility, credit card debt and desire to be loved? Too big. And all you want is for Baby Bear to give you his porridge, his chair and his bed.

Maybe you resort to Facebook pictures of peers who look like they have figured life out already. Or the friends who are still at your alma mater-smiling and laughing because they are safe in their academic campus bubble. I’ll will never lie and tell you everyday is easy. But there is the good news. It gets better.

You ARE talented, beautiful, kind and innovative. Everyone is struggling just like you to move out of their parents house, afford nice things, be proactive and make a change in the world. Think of just how far you have come. Instead of looking at your life as one overwhelming existence, tackle small projects and small goals. One cover letter. One day learning how to cook a new meal. One class on something new. With each small success, your confidence and definition of “possible” will grow.

Yesterday, I successfully balanced a checkbook. Last week, I returned to childhood and picked apples with my parents. And two weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk wondering how I was possibly going to survive another 8 hour work day in my grey-colored cubicle.

There is no longer a right or a wrong. You will not get validation that you chose the right path and life from now on will be easy. There is only the curiosity to try something new. Do not abandon your fear. Use it to explore something difficult and beautiful.

Good luck.

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