College seniors, ambiguous futures


“What will you do after you graduate?” When you’re a senior in college, this question dominates pretty much every conversation you have.

More than likely, most seniors are unable to answer this question toward the beginning and even the end of the school year.

Four out of five college seniors graduate without having a job or a plan for their next career step, according to Walter Hamilton’s Los Angeles Times article “More than 4 in 5 college seniors don’t have jobs lined up.”

College students put enough pressure on themselves as it is to figure out a plan for after graduation, and the pressure only builds having others remind you of the ambiguity of your future.

However, it is important to remember this is just the beginning of our careers and that it is not necessarily what we will be doing for the rest of our lives.

In my opinion, leaving college gives graduates the opportunity to see the world with new, different eyes. Graduates are able to finally appreciate the millions of different things that they could be doing with their lives.

However, as of right now, our generation makes up about 40 percent of the unemployed in the U.S., according to Anthony Carnevale, director and research professor for Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in Leah McGrath Goodman’s Newsweek article, “Millennial college graduates: Young, educated, jobless.”

Nevertheless, instead of letting this number bring us down, we should keep this in the back of our minds as motivation to find what we are looking for and appreciate any opportunity that comes our way.

The questioning will not stop. After we figure out what we are doing post-graduation a new round of questions will start. When will you get married? When will you have children? Or when are you buying a house?

It is important to pay less attention to what others are asking of you, and take everything step by step.

According to Olivia Adams’ Come Recommended article “18 ways to respond to ‘What are your plans after college?'”, if you have trouble answering the daunting question about post-graduation plans, some ways to answer could be:

  • I’m keeping my options open.
  • I’m waiting for the right opportunity.
  • I’ll let you know when I find a job.
  • I’ll keep applying for jobs until I find one.
  • I’m applying for the Peace Corps or grad school.

Of course, you can also always say you do not know yet or that you are still thinking about it.

The next time someone asks you what you’re doing after you graduate, remember that it is OK to not know what your next step will be.

In the end, the most important thing is for each of us college seniors to take control of our own lives rather than allow our choices to be influenced by the fear of a single question or of what people might think.