“So, you are graduating this May, right? What are your plans?”
Is “I don’t know” an okay answer? Senior college students dread family gatherings because they are afraid that relatives will ask what they plan to do next. Pie and advice. In reality, students need to fear the new year. It is (already) early March, and every time I talk to my dad the conversation goes the same way. “Still on track to graduate this May? Great, great. So, what is the plan? Are you staying in Indy, applying for jobs, what do you want to do?”
Honestly, I have no idea how to answer these questions, and it is freaking me out.
At this point in my educational career, there is some expectation for us to know “the plan.” As kids, we are allowed to dream and play pretend. Then, throughout middle school and high school, the answers are supposed to be more serious. It is becoming more and more acceptable for college students to come in as undecided freshmen, switch majors, but by the time we are seniors and about to graduate, students are supposed to know.
But, what if I just don’t know?
Right now, I am looking at graduate school. I’m also looking for jobs on campus here at IUPUI. Regrettably, I can’t decide what is right for me, whether it’s a few more years of school, an unpaid internship, or full-time position. There are four or five different graduate programs that I could easily see myself doing. But the thing is, when schools speak of their graduate students, they love to share that they’re passionate about what they do. My passions lie across many different causes, so it’s hard for me to pinpoint a particular graduate program.
My job search has also extended to the greater Indianapolis area, but that terrifies me as well. So I’m not counting out internships, but that makes me feel inadequate. It’s hard to strike a balance in this new stage in my life, and the sudden expectations are a bit much. What are we supposed to do, who are we supposed to talk to, where are we supposed to go? I can’t be a professional student forever. I think my ideal job position would be as a professional Netflix binger. I am pretty sure that is a thing, but I don’t think my parents would appreciate that I use my fancy college degree to watch TV all day.
I supposed the “adult thing” to do is to think about what’s right for me. Let my interests and passions guide me. Isn’t it the adult thing to do, to do right by ourselves? Do a little research; maybe a few quizzes on Buzzfeed on what my favorite food says about my secret ambition in life. Spoiler alert, it’s to be a writer. Googling is what my generation does.
In the end, I think what everyone needs to know is that it’s okay to flounder. While freaking out is normal, I think that it is important for us to find what makes us happy. Graduating college is a big accomplishment, and the moment should not be tarnished just because some of us don’t know what comes next. So whether I decide on graduate school, an internship, or an actual job, I know that it is okay if I may not be a hundred percent sure about it.
Victoria Hart is a senior at IUPUI majoring in Global & International Studies through the IU School of Liberal Arts. She is also minoring in German and History, and earning certificates in Human Communications in a Mediated World and Event Management. Victoria is a transfer student from Grand Rapids, MI, but has lived in seven different states as she is from a military family.