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Graduating last year felt more like a slow, sad deflation than a triumphant arrival into the working world. 

I’d worked hard for four years, pulled all nighters, been active in clubs and societies and made a boatload of friends.

Somehow, I managed to blag my way into a an entry-level position at a bank with an English degree.  

On the outside it seemed like I had no reason to be miserable, I had a decent apartment, a handful of close friends, a generous salary, a loving relationship. 

I had a good old dose of the post-graduation blues

While my co-workers were generally pleasant, I felt severely isolated. After spending four years learning about and debating literature, life and everything in between, copying and pasting an Excel spreadsheet was a shock to the system.

But in reality, I had a cheeky bathroom cry at least once a day and spent my evenings watching Gossip Girl reruns in bed. My identity as an outgoing and enthusiastic book-lover was completely shattered, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted anymore. I felt that my degree had been a waste of time, that employers didn't care about the dedication and buckets of Red Bull that went into that piece of paper. 

I lasted four months before handing in my notice, while crying of course. 

I'm not the only one. When talking about it with friends, classmates and co-workers, I was surprised that the amount of similar tales to my own. Hitting a massive slump after finishing college seems to be a fairly well-acknowledged experience.

So why is nobody talking about it? 

A study conducted by the The Independent in 2013 found that 90% of British students believed that post-graduation depression was a reality and 87% agreed that it needed more media exposure.

Despite this, there has never, I repeat NEVER, been a reputable study done on the relationship between graduating from  third level institution and depression. It is a well reported statistic that one in four students will suffer depression at some stage in their college careers, yet little is known about what happens to these students after they get handed that diploma.

“Young adulthood isn’t a population that is well studied at all. From a research perspective, it’s hard to categorise them,” Sheryl Ziegler, a professional counsellor, told The Washington Post.

“If a student’s college experience is mostly positive, college provides a cocoon of sorts: a community of friends, teachers and mentors who are mostly readily available to offer support or advice. Graduating symbolises a leap into ‘adult’ life, which is a huge transition,” she explains.

According to therapists and graduate chatrooms, symptoms of post-graduation depression  include massively decreased motivation, abnormally negative perspective, spending excessive amounts of time in bed, a sense of hopelessness and substance abuse.

“They often have trouble motivating themselves to get a job,” Ziegler said. “They are often lonely due to a lack of connection with friends. While young adults are in college, they may have been in an environment that was more accepting of alcohol and recreational drug use, and while depressed it’s possible this is being used as a coping mechanism.”

As well as employment and financial worries, graduates are often faced with the difficulties of moving back home. After the freedom and independence of living alone for college, returning to being a teenager-like state of co-habiting with parents can take it’s toll.

John, an engineering graduate from Dublin, sees no point leaving his family home, at least not in the current rental market.

“Although I appreciate my home cooked meals and other perks living it home can be a bit frustrating at times. I would love to move out to feel more independent, but I haven't come across an opportunity that would justify the cost.”

While a triumphant title in a recent Irish Independent article announced that graduate employment is back to boom-time levels, it doesn't address what type of employment they’ve found. Too often, intelligent young people end up over-qualified and under-paid, or in some cases, not paid at all. Making little to no money is not only financially stressful, but it also impacts on your self-image. 

Eva, a graphic designer, regrets taking an unpaid internship after graduation "I feel as though they definitely have a negative impact upon your self belief and confidence in your own abilities. 

"You're literally being told that your time, commitment and abilities are worth nothing." 

While taking a gap year or spending a prolonged period travelling might seem like a fantastic way to avoid the blues, it too comes with difficulties. Some graduates, such as Rachel, noted that readjusting back to life after travelling only compounded the blues. 

After returning from a year in New York, the marketing graduate doubted her decision of coming back to Dublin. 

“I was miserable; I would’ve given my right arm to get back to New York. I still would to be honest.”

Elsa, a journalism graduate, thought that 18-months travelling and life experience would give her an edge over her competitors, the opposite, in fact, was true.

“I could have kept going after my last internship and turned it into a permanent position but instead I had to justify the 18 month gap in my CV.

“Getting job interviews in journalist was very hard and no one seemed interested in what travelling taught me.”

So why is no one addressing this? Zielgar notes that this might, in part, be due to a common misconception about that final step into adulthood.

"Post-grad depression is under­reported because graduation is like motherhood: culturally seen as a seemingly joyful time, which makes it even more shameful for someone to admit that it’s not."

How can students and universities address graduation depression? Several graduates I talked to suggested improving access to work experience while still in college, to help moderate expectations of the working-environment. Another suggested that the burden should be on universities to assure students that it's okay to not be employed in their field straight away. 

But the first step is opening up to trusted friends, family members or a counsellor about how you feel. If your budget won't stretch as far as therapy fees, mental health services, such as Aware, offer free phone chatlines and support groups.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and joining clubs, night classes, or community groups was also recommended by graduates. 

For me, it was getting back to hobbies I had neglected and finally landing a job that was right for me. When it comes to mental health, nothing is going to get better overnight, but by embracing small positive changes each day, it will get a little better. I swear. 

By Katie Meegan 

Names have been changed

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Professional accounting body ACCA Ireland is calling on the Government to clamp down on unpaid internships. 

The financial institution is suggesting that Ireland introduce measures similar to those adopted in the UK in an effort to reduce the number of students working for free. 

ACCA Ireland have also called on businesses to take responsibility in ensuring that their programmes do not "unfairly discriminate" against students from low and middle income families by paying their interns minimum wage or above. 

They note that, for many, entry into certain sectors such as accountancy, journalism, law and engineering still requires a period of unpaid work, meaning only those with another means of financial support are able to make their way onto the career ladder. 

Aidan Clifford, Technical Director at ACCA Ireland claims unpaid internships are acting as a barrier to social mobility.

 “Unpaid internships limit the pool of talent available to a company. A wealthy parent is not a good indicator of the abilities of their child.

“When a company’s customers can come from all walks of life, having the majority of staff coming from one single socio-economic group adversely affects their business.

“It is better for a company to recruit the best and not just those with wealthy parents, and a paid internship programme is an effective means of helping achieve this."

He went on to stress how many young people feel unfairly treated and recommended that companies be sent guidelines which they must adhere to. 

"The Irish Government should consider measures taken in the UK which has seen HMRC sending out guidelines on the obligations of paying interns the minimum wage and setting up enforcement teams to tackle offending companies.

“ACCA guidance is that employers should provide adequate remuneration, set reasonable timelines at the outset and structure programmes to fairly offer training on the job without replacing a full-time employee.”

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The day of 'I'm just lucky to have a job' is gone – hard working, well educated young people deserve respect when entering the work force. 

One thing that employers ALWAYS get away with is the 'unpaid internship' – sorry but on what planet can a person afford to work full time, for NO MONEY? 

This rant is coming from someone who knows all too well what life is like as an unpaid intern. 

I have done three internships in total – one in Ireland and two abroad. The Irish one? I got 50 quid a week to cover travel. 

I worked 9-5 (although, sometimes I worked MUCH later), Monday to Friday, and did the job of a person who should have been on a starting salary. 

Instead, I had to sponge off my parents, take out a loan and cease to have a social life for the best part of 4 months. 

What did I learn? 

To be honest, I took a massive life lesson with me when I left the internship – know your worth, and stick to it! 

I still remember how grateful I felt when I got the offer of my internship. So thankful to have a 'job'.

When you look up the word job in the dictionary, it is described as: 'A paid position of regular employment.'

Emphasis on the word paid please. 

'I get to pursue my dreams in an amazing company.' But, for no money, no benefits and

Nobody should have to work for free, and I cannot believe that companies are getting away with it. 

And yet, despite being unpaid, I worked harder than I ever have – with a determination to impress someone, in the hope of being offered a job at the end of my internship. 

That rarely happens by the way, but they kind of lead me on – like a mean boy who you fancy, but you shouldn't. 

They told me I was doing a great job, which only spurred me on more, resulting in me bringing work home at the weekend, working late and all that fun stuff.

FOR NO MONEY. 

'Life isn't always about money' I hear you say. 

I hate to bloody break it to you lads, but yes, yes it is. To be in your early twenties, working your butt off for nothing is a serious blow to your confidence. 

Self worth is something that employers need to get on board with. You cannot expect your staff to be happy working for nothing, even if they're 'just an intern'. 

I ultimately left the internship early, because I eventually copped on that I was being taken for a total ride. I did a little stint in London, and returned to the company I'm in now. 

Who actually pay me. 

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A nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic has been accused of sexism after it emerged it staged a bikini competition as a means of recruiting new interns.

The plant published 10 images to Facebook showing high school graduates posing in swimsuits in the Temelin nuclear power plant's cooling tower.

The post, which has over 1,500 likes, asked followers to vote for the candidate they like the best.

The young woman with the most votes will be given the title of “Bouncer of Energy” and the opportunity to embark on a two week internship with the company.

According to The Independent, the nuclear power company claimed the competition was a continuation of previous cultural enrichment programs.

As expected, social media users were outraged by the post, with many taking to the comments to criticise the company for the way in which those chose their interns.

One wrote: “This is most disgusting and sexist thing I've recently seen. I suppose your science accomplishments are adequate to your recruiting methods.”

While another said: “Have you lost your minds???? Anyone and everyone involved in this TERRIBLE decision should be fired without references.”

A spokesperson for the company told The Independent that the company offered around 900 internships each year.

"Most of them are organised for the high schools and universities that are members of our partnership program," they said. "Some of the internships/excursions are however customarily offered for the winners of competitions either organised by CEZ or by the third parties."

"In this case the participants of the Czech beauty contest Maturantka Roku, translated as the Graduate of the Year were photographed in the environment of the Temelin power plant."

"The fans on the Facebook page of the Information Centre Temelin could cast a vote on the Facebook page and choose a girl that would receive a short internship according to her preferences – if she plans to study journalism, she would do the internship in the press office, if she plans to study economy, she might do it in the economy department."

"The voting was possible only for a brief period of time – around one day – and then we stopped it. We haven’t announced any winner and we apologised."

It was later announced on the company's Facebook page that all 10 finalists had been offered internships.

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A lot of students try to get some real-life experience before they go out into the big bad world of work.

Sure, how many of us went on work experience in secondary school?!

Saying that, we either went off to our uncle's office, or to the local creche down the road. And, it was certainly nothing like Malia Obama's internship on the set of Girls.

Yep, in the summer of 2015, Malia, at just 17, worked on Lena Dunham's TV show, and finally, the actress has spilled the beans on how she got on.

Speaking to radio DJ Howard Stern, Lena said: "She's an angel. She was interning at HBO and they thought, what if she comes a couple days a week to the set of Girls?

"She loved the show, and I mean, obviously we weren't, like, making her go get our coffee. You're not going to send [the president's daughter] to get coffee.

"But she wanted to do all the jobs. That was the cool thing. She was totally enthusiastic."

Malia is set to start her first term at Harvard University this autumn, and has also just started an internship with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

We can see big things happening for this beauty.

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Just as her family are leaving the White House, the New York Post has revealed where Malia Obama is heading to next.

While her family are jetting off to Palm Springs for a post-White House holiday, Malia is setting her sights for New York where she bagged an internship with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Image result for malia obama

The 18-year-old is set to start work at the beginning of next month in the NYC office of The Weinstein Co.

At this stage, it is unclear what department Malia will be working in, but it is thought she will dip her feet into marketing or development for the company.

Image result for malia obama

This isn't the first time the young adult interned in NYC though. She previously worked on the set of Girls in July 2015 and was also a production assistant on Halle Berry's show Extant in 2014.

Keep doing what you're doing, girl.

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Longing for your dream internship but just don't know where to start?

Well, how does travelling the world on a free, food-and-drink-included cruise sound? Oh, and you'll get paid €3500.00 for it. 

One cruise company, Royal Caribbean is seeking a young professional for an "intern-ship," where they create content for the brand's Instagram while exploring all the perks of the ship and its destinations. 

Royal Caribbean want an adventure seeker to document their travels on the cruise line for three weeks, and is willing to pay them handsomely for their troubles. 

"The candidate will sail the seas capturing incredible content and uncovering amazing stories," according to the Instagram post.

All candidates have to do is post an "extraordinary" travel photo or video on Instagram, tagging @RoyalCaribbeanUK and using the hashtag #ExtraordinaryExplorer, to be in with a chance of being selected.

“Our cruise holidays are filled with extraordinary moments and we want to find a talented storyteller who can help us capture those unique moments and share them through one of the most inspirational social media platforms,” Ben Boudin, Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director in Ireland & UK, told Dublin Live.

So basically they want someone to live the high life while taking breathtaking snaps for social media. Sounds like every millennial's dream. 

Do hot dogs or legs pictures count? 

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Malia Obama is quickly becoming one of our major girl crushes.

Her style is the envy of us all here at SHEmazing! HQ, plus she lives in the White House, and that is – in fairness – pretty sweet.

Having recently being accepted into Harvard (How fancy), Malia has decided to take a gap year before embarking on her college journey in 2017.

And how does the daughter of the American President spend a gap year? Interning in Spain…obvs.

According to ABC Spain, Malia has locked down an internship in the U.S Embassy in Madrid. 

The Obama family recently visited Cuba, where Malia had a chance to show of her flair for the Spanish language, even acting as an unofficial translator for her Dad. 

Malia, 18, along with her sister Sasha, were named two of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" by TIME magazine.

The sisters have been complimented by the press numerous times for their amazing style, and manner as children of the world's most powerful man. 

We are expecting really great things from these Obama women, and who knows, one of them could run for president in the years to come! 

Buena suerte (good luck), Malia! 

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We’d have thought a whole heap of graduates and fashionistas-in-the-making would give up their Hermes bag to nab an internship with The Row.

But it seems that one disgruntled former employee is less than happy with her lot.

Indeed, Shahista Lalani is suing Dualstar, the parent company run by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen which also oversees The Row – for wage theft.

Now a designer herself, Shahista also reckons that around 40 past and present interns are in her position: overpaid and underworked.

A graduate of the prestigious Parsons School Of Design in Manhattan, she worked under The Row’s head technical designer for five months.

“She was very demanding,” Ms Lalani recalled. “I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. Emails at nighttime for the next day, like 10pm.”

Ms Lalani even claimed she was hospitalised for dehydration because of the job’s demands: the 29-year-old stated that she worked in 38C New York summer heat, carrying “like 50lbs worth of trench coats”.

The Canadian native also said she put in 50-hour weeks “inputting data into spreadsheets, making tech sheets, running personal errands for paid employees, organising materials, photocopying, sewing, pattern cutting, among other related duties”.

“You’re like an employee, except you’re not getting paid. They’re kind of mean to you.

“Other interns have cried. I’d see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff,” Ms Lalani furthermore claimed.

And while she never worked directly for the Olsens, both 29, she said she saw them occasionally at meetings.

“They’re really nice people,” she said. “They were never mean to anyone. They’re business people.”

Former child-stars the Olsens launched The Row, named as an homage to the precision of Savile Row tailoring, in 2004 with a simple white t-shirt. 

The label now turns over tens of millions annually creating uber-expensive, high-end clothing and accessories.

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