Post-graduation life can be both exciting and unsettling. After completing 2-5+ years at college, many graduates embark on new journeys. Some people might move back home with family, others may be starting grad school, and some might be kick-starting their careers. Everyone’s path is different, and it is completely normal to feel lost and uncertain at the end of your college experience.
Currently, in the midst of an important social movement and a pandemic, it can be hard to feel grounded and focused on usual life goals. There are huge changes happening not only directly in our personal lives, but in the bigger systems we are part of. Some of these may be impacting us directly and causing pressures in our lives that are hard to manage. The goal is not to ignore these external and internal events, but gradually learn to cope with them in a healthy way.
Graduating from college sparks a huge transition in our lives. Many graduates have been in school non-stop for the past 16+ years. This means years of classes, homework, exams, extracurriculars, and deadlines. Now that there is a change in routine and responsibilities, there may be a strange loss of purpose or direction. Some feelings that may be coming up are anxiety, hopelessness, stress, sadness, or feelings of numbness. Whether you’ve had to move back home, start a new job, or are entering a new living situation, it is important to take time to care for your mental health. While all of these circumstances can spur some sense of discomfort, working on personal well-being can help you be the best version of yourself alongside navigating your role in the world.
Here are some things that have been helping me, and might help you, too.
There are also some online resources that create a safe space to talk to someone if you are feeling distressed:
The MHP website also has some detailed resources on this transition: https://www.ucsbmhp.com/making-changes--navigating-transitions.html
I wish you so much luck on your post-grad journey. You’ve got this!
-Tashia, Mental Health Peer
Welcome to Week 5 at Zoom University - UCSB edition, of course. It’s another day of waking up later than usual, rolling out of bed ten minutes before that 11 AM lecture, scrambling to find your lecture notes from last week, all while trying to figure out what your *Zoom fit* of the day will be.
As we prepare to head into Week 5, infamously known for being one of the weeks that most students have midterms (You got this!) we begin to feel the increasing weight of our responsibilities fall onto our shoulders. For some of us, we returned to our hometowns, to the places we knew as home before coming to UCSB/IV, whereas some of us stayed in Isla Vista, a home away from home. Whether you’re back home or in Isla Vista, one thing is for sure - we aren’t just students, our roles are much greater than that. For some of us, we’re the third parent, the caretakers, the educator, the provider, the example.
*DING* my bad, just got called into another Zoom meeting at Zoom University. As I was saying… during quarantine, you may begin to feel your motivation decrease, but don’t be too alarmed! We here at the MHP Program, along with the help of other wellbeing services available, are here to help bring you ease during these hectic times.
Here are some tips that could help you stay positive and gain motivation while adapting to Zoom University and the COVID-19 Pandemic in general:
In conclusion, here are a few additional tips to help keep you positive during these hectic times:
1. You got this!
2. Believe in yourself and speak your goals into existence
3. Stay home for the safety and wellbeing of yourself, your loved ones, and for the health of others in general.
4. Take advantage of any extra time you may have on your hands - call your family, read that favorite YA book for the sixth time, watch a new television show, discover a new interest, research topics that interest you -- the list goes on, and so shall we :-)
-Vic, Mental Health Peer
I feel uprooted. I feel like the rug has been pulled from under me. I feel like I should panic, but I feel like everyone needs to stop panicking. I feel sad, then I feel guilty because others have it worse. I feel scared, but I don’t want to acknowledge that fear. I can’t fall asleep at night, then I either sleep in until 2 pm or I wake up overwhelmed with my own thoughts. And emails.
[CLASS 1] ZOOM lecture now posted on gauchospace!
[CLASS 2] read, respond ASAP: difficulties with ZOOM…
[SA ANNOUNCEMENTS] COVID-19 Response
[CLASS 1] ZOOM link: updated
[CLASS 3] syllabus update: READ THOROUGHLY!!!
[Henry T. Yang] COVID-19 Update
There’s so much to do, but also nothing to do. I should do my class work, but why should I when the days feel like they’re blurring together? I’ll just do it tomorrow. Or the next day. I’ll just go on Twitter.
[Timeline] Coronavirus: Latest news and updates
[COLLEGE FRIEND] ur stupid if you leave ur house during a pandemic…
[VIRAL TWEET] this is a picture of my grocery store right now…
[FRIEND FROM HOME] everyone chill lol ur stupid if ur still panicking…
[CHRISSY TEIGAN] *animal crossing video*
Honestly though… I’m tired. I’m tired of ZOOM, of not seeing my friends, of not knowing how long this is going to last or what the future holds, of worrying about my basic needs, of being shamed every time I have to leave my house, of not being able to celebrate birthdays in person or go to events, of having no sense of stability or organization, and most of all, of worrying that this is what my post-grad life is going to be like. This is what my LIFE is going to be like. What am I going to do with my life?
Let’s slow down…
Take a breath….
And show ourselves some self-compassion.
Over the past month and a half, my anxiety has been at an all-time high. It’s been really comfortable for me to fall back into unhealthier coping techniques, like spending hours scrolling through social media, not taking care of my needs, or completely isolating myself. While it’s okay to indulge in those types of behaviors occasionally, it’s important to take care of ourselves and do what we can to navigate our anxiety in a healthy way, especially during this unusual time. Here’s what’s been helpful for me so far!
The main affirmation that I’ve been reminding myself is… it’s okay. Everything you’re feeling right now? It’s 100% okay. We as a society are experiencing a collective shock, and that can lead to feelings of fear, exhaustion, numbness, anger and irritability, lack of motivation, and more. It’s absolutely normal and healthy for us to experience a whirlwind of emotion, or to feel like we’re unable to process it all at once. (However, if you or someone you know is experiencing warning signs or thoughts of ending one’s life, please connect with CAPS or Student Mental Health Coordination Services, or call 911 in case of an emergency.)
Can I Be Kind to Myself? (Spoiler: Yes)
Try to acknowledge these feelings through the lens of an observer rather than a critic. For example, instead of judging yourself harshly with negative self-talk such as, “Why am I so unmotivated? I’m such a failure,” try the following:
If accessible, I highly recommend therapy to anyone and everyone. I started therapy about a year and a half ago, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. I didn’t realize how much processing I still needed to do to heal from my past traumas, and through therapy I’ve been able to become more aware of my own patterns and learn about ways to navigate my anxiety. It also feels really comforting to know that I’m able to consistently see someone who will listen to me and support me! To learn more about on-campus and off-campus therapy options, visit caps.sa.ucsb.edu.
Thought Diffusion: Visual Metaphors to Help with Unwanted Thoughts
For those looking for techniques to help diffuse negative thoughts as they arise, I highly suggest trying the following:
How Do I Find Resources???
Although it can feel like everything is on pause right now, most campus departments are still open! Here are a few options for those looking for some at-home self-care:
Remember, you are the master of your own mind. While there may be times where it feels like anxiety is uncontrollable, it is crucial to remember that we all have the ability to practice self-compassion and manage our thought patterns. You’re not alone in this! ☺
I hope that this blog post was helpful for y’all! Stay tuned for more blog posts by my lovely coworkers, and please follow @ucsbmentalhealthpeers for more mental health resources.
- Jasmine, Mental Health Peer