Recently there was an article I read about Post Graduate Depression which you can read here. I’ve heard the term before and I have heard tales of other students who have experienced the same thing even if the same term wasn’t used. During my student exchange in Canada the inability to find jobs in their original field of study was the reason many student turned to masters or professional courses in the hope of being able to sustain themselves eventually.
In the Caribbean the University of the West Indies is just one of the many Universities. With our small numbers and even smaller economies producing so many graduates leads to a number of problems. The competition for jobs is high and remaining unemployed or unable to find employment in your field is a common tale that many University students face.
Here are some solutions to help you get back on track
Set a schedule
One thing that really changes when we leave university is the lack of a set schedule or timetable. Despite many of us skipping classes or never making it to 9 am lectures, we did spend 3 or more years within that structure knowing what we had to do even if we didn’t quite make it.
Setting a daily schedule or even weekly can help restore stability. Plan activities such as exercise, cooking or visiting friends.
Join a youth group or club
University is fun. Being in one place with so many people your age is entertaining, you make great friends and can easily have a great time. But this isn’t the case when we return home, the feeling of loneliness is even worse if you studied far away from your home or country.
Reconnecting with people in your area through clubs such as Rotaract is a good way to feel connected again. Groups can also give a sense of purpose if you join one that aligns with your passions.
Grow your network
The student of today are the professionals of tomorrow. Nepotism and connections are one of the ways that people get jobs but don’t be phased by this. Grow your own network. After University think of the people you know, reach out, find out contact information, and connect. One great way to cohesively do this is through the use of LinkedIn.
Rediscover your creativity
University kills creativity. This is not up for debate or a question to be answered. Despite Universities being advocates of lifelong learning in reality we are learning to pass examinations. Learning without enjoyment kills the natural creativity we harness as children.
If you were into writing, art, crafts, drama, designing, pick it back up. For me writing was always a way that I expressed my creativity so through the use of this blog I’ve been able to rediscover mine.
Learn a new skill or talent
This is something that I know many people want to do but the number one thing in their way is time. Well, being an unemployed graduate what you do have is time. This summer I started learning more about business and entrepreneurship, something that isn’t covered in my Law degree but seems important for the working world. What do you want to learn?
Enhance your Knowledge
As they always say, learning never stops. After looking at the requirements for some jobs you may realize that you have a Bachelors but may need a certificate or knowledge of a certain program or software to make yourself more marketable to employers. Learn it! Sign up for a new class or start an online course, whatever you need to do to land that job.
Work experience… We constantly hear that term but how do we get it? If you are lucky enough to have parents who would support you throughout your financially challenged times volunteering within your field is a great way to get work experience, connections, increased knowledge and maybe even a permanent position.
Bonus Tip – Try Another Island
Try searching for a job in another Caribbean Island. In the Caribbean, CARICOM has tried to make it easier for our economies to develop through the use of CSME. If you are a university graduate try applying for a Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills Qualification which allows you to work without requiring a work permit in other CARICOM countries.
Until next time