You’re Not Alone

Column by Gisselle HernandezAssistant Features Editor

In honor of the Career Fair that took place on Wednesday, I’d like to talk about the dreaded six-worded question all seniors cower at that makes their eyes widen in fear: “What are you doing after graduation?” If you want to see a college student go 100 to 0 real quick, just hit them with this question and watch them scramble for an explanation that won’t earn judgmental stares from nosy aunts and worried parents.

I’m here to tell all of you who run for the hills as soon as the subject comes up that, contrary to popular belief, no, you don’t have to have everything figured out by graduation. As a 20-something, deciding on that one career where your student loans’ worth will be put to the test isn’t something that should cause your anxiety to worsen or make you obsess over perfecting those grades.

When students come in as freshmen, graduation may be the last thing on their minds – hatchings leaving the nest, their eager minds expect four years of partying and living on their own with the worry about jobs and internships later. As that time slowly approaches, it’s like a time bomb has been set in place. Thanksgiving Breaks usually result in you avoiding your grandparents who keep asking about your future career, or parents giving you that look of “your time is running out.” Students become high-strung on the concept that once they get out, they need to know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

But as people get older, they change, and so will their likes and dislikes. A major you thought you were perfect for in college might bore you later on when you finally get in a job in that field.

College is meant to mold you, sand your edges, thrusting you into the “real world,” ready to show off your skills and talent. That doesn’t mean you are a finished work. Once you begin experiencing your knowledge hands-on (after taking time to get to know yourself better), you might realize it wasn’t what you always wanted. If you liked just one specific field in your entire life, you would be pretty boring. Once you leave here, you have much more sanding to go through, so expect losing interest in some things and gaining in others. Figuring things out takes time; it’s impossible to think that once you have left the box you were in for four years, it will encompass the entire 60 years left out in the world for you to explore.

So, instead of having an existential crisis right before graduation, take comfort in knowing it’s OK to have no idea what you’re doing, especially if you realize what you studied wasn’t the major you thought was for you. You aren’t the only one; thousands of students can sympathize with you.

So, whenever someone asks you that question again, it’s more than likely they don’t know what they’re going to do with their life either.

If by some miracle they have everything figured out, who needs overachieving friends anyway?