I don't think there's anything wrong with you other than the fact that you're experiencing a very normal and understandable response to a significant transition and loss. You've gone from being a college student, which is like a protracted adolescence, with little responsibilities other than studying and waking up on time to get to class, to being something else that has not yet fully congealed.
You aren't alone in your identity crisis; many college grads struggle to find their way. It can be a let down to enter the "real world," where life can be more mundane, responsibilities far greater, and stress a lot higher, especially in today's world where you're lucky as a college grad to have a job at all. It's disheartening when you've spent the past four years learning about lofty and inspiring issues and believing you could change the world, or at least make a dent in it. And now you're pushing pencils in some corner cubicle wondering when it'll be lunchtime so you can stop pretending to be doing something important when you're really checking out celebrity gossip sites.
Maybe it's just going to take you a little more time to find your groove, but that doesn't make you deficient. Give yourself room to go through a funk and know that even if your friends are acting as if all if their world is peachy keen, chances are they're experiencing some downs of their own. Maybe they just aren't being as honest as you are about them.
But acknowledging your feelings is not the same as wallowing in misery. It's fine and necessary to recognize your post-graduation funk and have some compassion for yourself. But, at some point, it's also important to take steps to ease this transition. I suggest you try to pursue an activity outside of work that might connect you with like-minded college grads. In college it's so easy to find people to connect with, but in the real world, you have to work a little harder at it unless you're blessed to find a posse at work with whom you can socialize (which can be a blessing as well as a curse, I must add). So, consider, for example, joining a gym, which might serve the dual purpose of exposing you to social opportunities as well as improving your mood through the serotonin boost you get through aerobic exercise. If that idea doesn't float your boat, try joining or starting a book club, investing in a volunteer opportunity or taking an evening class. These activities provide a sound basis to build relationships and a sense of community with people who have shared values and interests. This may be just the thing you need to jump-start a more positive mood and begin to help ease the transition into this unknown post-graduate territory.
If, however, you're finding that you've sunk so deeply into despair that the idea of simply walking to the nearest coffee shop and looking at their wall postings is just too much for you, then it may be time you seek professional help. The signs of a more serious depression include:
-Having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning or sleeping at night
-Having a hard time eating, or finding yourself eating too much
-Experiencing frequent crying or constantly ruminating about mistakes you believe that you've made
-Having a hard time concentrating for long stretches of time, which is seriously impeding your job performance or causing relationship problems
-Increasingly having negative thoughts about yourself and your life more days than not
-For a complete list of depression symptoms, you can check out the Mayo Clinic and National Institute for Mental Health websites.
If you think that you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, I encourage you to find a professional in your community who can help you through this difficult phase in your life so that you can free up more energy and resources to the task of building a new life for yourself.
Know that somewhere along the line, you will congeal; you'll shape an identity and a life for yourself post college, and that cubicle will one day give way to a corner office.
Life after college graduation can sorta suck, right? Especially if all of your college buddies seem like they're having a big time in their new flats furnished with the latest designs from IKEA. Or whatever. Sigh.
Here's the thing: making the transition from college to work IS super stressful. Not only do you have to adjust to a new job, you also have to get to know new work colleagues, and maybe even navigate a new city. Take note: You will probably get lost more than once.
Heck, after I graduated I moved to Phoenix, where I spent the first 6 months driving around the city, lost and crying, in spite of my GPS. At one point, the only thing that saved me was my favorite landmark: IKEA. Thank God. I can't tell you what a relief it was to find the mothership.
Anyway, I totally agree the advice that Ms. Bograd has provided, for sure. If you're feeling depressed, get support.
Here's what I think.
If you want to stop feeling lost, your first step is: Decide to live your life now...not in the past. As soon as you make the decision, you'll start finding sparks of yourself that you miss from college. Look for the good in your life now. And yes, the cute guy in the cube next to you? He's a very good thing/
Next step? Ask your intuition: What's the first thing I need to do to live my life now? It could be something as simple as unpacking your boxes, and then heading to IKEA and setting up your apartment. When you let your intuition guide your life, you'll be surprised at how effortlessly you settle into the life you're creating for yourself. Right now.
All my best to you,