Class of 2010 – Beat the Graduation Blues

HOUSTON (April 29, 2010) – You’ve been waiting to get out of high school or college since you started. Now, whether you hit the books and have a perfect 4.0 or pulled it off by the skin or your teeth, you’re graduating.

You might be feeling more than a little anxious — leaving old friends, moving to a new location and finding a job in today’s less-than-desirable job market.

Post-graduation blues are common among new graduates.

“Graduation signals a milestone in life,” said Britta Ostermeyer, MD, chief of psychiatry, Ben Taub General Hospital and the Harris County Hospital District. “Graduates have mixed feelings. Of course they’re happy about their achievement, but there is a sense of loss about leaving their familiar environment and moving on.”

These feelings are normal and common during times of change. After years of knowing what was coming next, now uncertainty looms, but there are ways to prepare for the transition, according to Ostermeyer.

“Prepare for the upcoming change,” Ostermeyer suggests. “Students can form work groups to talk about pertinent topics like relocation, applications and see how others are handling new situations. Graduates can also visit their new city ahead of time to become more familiar with the area.”

While being sad is normal, these changes can also bring on bouts of depression that may become, if not recognized and treated, serious.

“If the symptoms of depression or anxiety interfere with daily activities — trouble getting up in the morning, depressed almost daily, problems with sleep, loss of interest in activities — then it’s important to seek help before more serious symptoms like feelings of worthlessness develop.”

Ostermeyer reminds 2010 college graduates looking for jobs, it will be OK.

“Remember that after challenging times, our economy has bounced back in the past,” Ostermeyer said. “Be flexible, consider additional training and certification. And if a job is not presently in great demand, consider cross-training options to a different, but related career path.”

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