Post- campus depression is a situation in which confusion kicks in accompanied by extreme sadness and impaired functioning that recent graduands (and those who are yet to graduate) report after they leave behind the world they created in college.
Post – campus depression mainly affects those who are having trouble finding jobs especially to do with what they studied. In the African culture, graduation is something worth celebrating. The moment one graduates the whole village leaves their daily routine to come and dance for you. Graduating is more like a rite of passage where I come from. The recognized rites of passage are birth, initiation, marriage and death but recently birth, initiation, graduation, marriage and death. In some graduation ceremonies I have attended, I have seen some old folks who stood up to say “sasa kwasababu umemaliza shule tunafaa kuketi chini tuongee ni lini unatuletea kamurebo/kakijana”. “Now that you have completed school we should sit down and talk about when you are bringing over a boy/girl (that you are marrying)”. We will one-day talk about how people keep asking why you are not getting married.
Graduation is a glamorous affair – the day and the celebrations behind it. However, the aftermath can be painful if lady luck does not knock at your door on time. Some people are lucky to get jobs immediately they graduate or even before they do. Many will tarmac for a short time and others for several years before they get a job. Distress kicks in and some begin to question their worth. Some blame God. They begin to say things like if you are truly God and if you consider me your child why not open your ears to my cry? Why not open your eyes to my needs? People blame themselves. Is it because I got this grade in high school? Is it because I did not get a certificate in computer studies or a foreign language before I joined university? Is it because I did not look for a job while I was standing to get experience? Why am I the one to suffer this mystery?
Post – campus depression can lead to other forms of depression mainly dysthymia, major depression and clinical depression. Inability to cope with handle post – campus depression may cause more mental health problems in the future.
- Separation from family and friends after university/college
- Use/abuse of alcohol and drugs
- Social media addiction
- Low self-esteem
- Pressure from family members
HOW CAN ONE TELL IF POST CAMPUS DEPRESSION IS AFFECTING THEM
- Feeling or being disorganized
- Increased/ decreased appetite
- Insomnia/ hypersomnia – sleeping too little or too much
- Comparing oneself to others on social media
- A sense of demotivation even to look for a job
- Too much negativity
- A sense of hopelessness
- A sense of helplessness
- A sense of worthlessness
- Extreme sadness
- Lack of interest in things one was previously interested in
- Impaired functioning
- Withdrawing self-care ( not taking a bath, wearing dirty/ worn out clothes, not washing clothes, not eating and when they do it is either too little or not healthy, neglecting personal needs)
- Spiritual abandonment
HOW TO CONTROL POST CAMPUS DEPRESSION
- Take a balanced diet ( you might need to ask for help)
- Seek the help of a counsellor/psychologist
- Find an accountability partner to help you in doing what you must do (self-care)
- Find an accountability partner to help in spiritual growth
- Keep off social media
- Create a schedule and stick to it – this will help in feeling organized
- Connect with friends & family
- Engage in community activities
- Do something creative (paint, write, draw)
- Take time to breath
- Learn a new skill
- Get involved in church activities
- Volunteer with institutions that interest you (Poverty alleviating, advocacy, mental health awareness, charity, social justice, team building among others)
- Use thought stopping techniques
Thought stopping [close your eyes, take a deep breath, visualize a switch in your head, slowly close the switch. After closing the switch, visualize a safe place (for example the beach) imagine yourself enjoying the serenity of that place, the good things about that place.]
Post – campus depression is a real thing. Check on your friends. Talk deeply about how they feel about finishing campus.
I conclude with a statement from a writer on the Washington Post College can be similar to a utopian society: Its inhabitants are not aware of the struggles that may await when that utopian world vanishes the day after graduation. We are not told that the mix of emotions that this transition triggers can have negative consequences on our mental health.
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