The Graduate Blues

Posted by Jess Nichols

Most graduate managers are probably about to take their last deep breath before the footsteps of fresh and eager graduates fill the hallways. While this is usually an exciting time, we have heard of a few cases of graduates suffering from what has been coined "The Graduate Blues". How do you spot if one of your graduates has a spot of the blues? As a recent graduate, Jess Nichols (@jessnichols) shares her experience of dealing with the graduate blues, and how she overcame them. Thanks Jess for Sharing to help others. You can find Jess's personal blog @

Dealing with the Graduate Blues

I've been pretty lucky when it has come to my career - I was accepted into a co-operative degree straight out of high school and was able to experience industry training at two very well known organisations. This experience helped me get a job as a summer vacationer, and then graduate job at an organisation that I absolutely adore. However, a few months after starting my job, I became disillusioned about everything – my identity, my life and my career. For the first time since I started school, I didn't live in a world that was completely structured for me: school and university had clear inputs and outputs; and my graduate position didn't. I didn't have a map for my career - I just felt lost. For a while I thought it would be something that I would just get over, but after I continued to be feeling this way for a few months, I had a catch up with my mentor who said what I was feeling was called 'The Graduate Blues.' After having a quick search on Google, I discovered that it is something that students get after they graduate but before they start work because they are nervous and anxious about the road ahead. This is true in some sense but personally I didn't really feel nervous that it was going to take me x years to get to management or anything like that – it was more about defining myself and knowing that you don't necessarily have to pre plan everything in your life. But don't get me wrong, it is so important to have career goals - and most organisations will get you to do some sort of career plan when you start - but just because it's written on paper, it doesn't necessarily mean you are tied down or are forced to do them. I initially wrote about the Graduate Blues on my personal blog - and the reason the GradConnection guys asked me to write a post for them - was because as much as Google can help, it doesn't really have much information about how to overcome the graduate blues once you get into a job I think that there's been a few things that have helped me get to the stage that I am at the moment:

Identify The Wall

When you have the graduate blues, it feels like there is a massive glass wall in front of you. You know that it is there, and you can see straight through it, but there is no way of knowing how to get around or on top of it. Although you may be able to identify you have the graduate blues, the exact reasoning will be different for everyone so you need to work out why that wall exists to work out the best plan of attack for breaking it down.

Don't Force Anything

If you don't feel like doing anything for a day and sitting in bed – do it (and I know I did quite a few times!). Having some downtime – no matter how long it is – and understanding that it is OK to have downtime will help. Don't force yourself to start anything new because you think that is the only way to get over the graduate blues - there is no set time for you to get over the graduate blues and there's no need to rush or force yourself because that will only put more pressure on you and make you more stressed about this situation. One day you will wake up and be like ‘I can do this now' or something will click and you will have your motivation again.


The single most important thing that helped me was the ability to have a close support network that I could confide in. Let your friends know how you are feeling and let them help you. I was surprised that two of my closest work friends had been through the same process as me and were able to give me fantastic tips about what I was going through – you don't discover these things if you keep it bottled up. As much as I would love this blog post to have a completely happy ending - to be frankly honest, I'm still not over it - having the Graduate Blues doesn't go away over night and it's more of a process than anything else. But I can definitely say that I'm in a better spot than I was then and being able to see where my wall was, taking my time and being able to speak to others really has helped me understand that one day I will get over the graduate blues.


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