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Graduate Advice
5 min read

Dealing With Post Graduate Sadness After Leaving University

Although graduating from university is a cause for huge celebration, it is often tinged with sadness. It is the end of an exciting chapter in your life and while another chapter is about to begin, you can not help but feel trepidation as you step into the unknown. Mixed emotions are normal as you say goodbye to friends and a way of life that has helped define your character - but now it is time to move on.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
November 8, 2023

Although graduating from university is a cause for huge celebration, it is often tinged with sadness. It is the end of an exciting chapter in your life and while another chapter is about to begin, you can not help but feel trepidation as you step into the unknown. Mixed emotions are normal as you say goodbye to friends and a way of life that has helped define your character - but now it is time to move on.

When you leave behind the familiar place that has been home for a number of years and a routine that you have become accustomed to, it can be quite difficult emotionally as you inevitably have become attached to what has been part of you. Accept your feelings and remind yourself that you will always have the fantastic memories that you have made but have many more yet to come. You may feel apprehensive about what the future holds so take small steps - one at a time - and trust that wonderful opportunities will appear as and when you embark on your chosen career path.

Good friends that you have forged strong bonds with will be moving on too. University life attracts students from all over the country and even the world. Your friends will also be moving on with their lives and moving to different locations. Social dynamics may change but with all the technology available enabling people to stay in touch, friendships can easily endure long  distance. People who are meant to stay in your life will make an effort to stay connected with you.

The pressure to start a career will feel heavy at times but not everyone knows immediately after graduating what they would like to do. It is perfectly fine to take some time out for personal reflection and even to try a succession of different jobs until you find something that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Do what you want to do and not what others expect of you. Set yourself realistic expectations and never compare yourself to someone else. You may think you know their story but you don't. Everyone’s personal and professional path is unique and success is defined in a very different way from one person to another.

Seek support from family, friends or counselors and do not be embarrassed to share your concerns and anxieties. Often talking to someone about how you feel can be a relief and you can get a whole new perspective on your emotions, making things seem less worrying.

Fill your days with pastimes that you enjoy and surround yourself with positive people as this can instill in you a sense of purpose. Graduating from university never means that learning is over. On the contrary, your learning has just begun because learning is a lifelong process so stay up to date with your skills, interests and knowledge by reading, online courses or workshops.

Experiencing sadness after graduation is a valid response to a significant and major  life transition and the loss you experience is very real. However, your journey is just beginning and there is so much more on its way to you!

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