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Here’s How To Protect Your Peace Against Those Annoying AF Post-Grad Stress Questions

Every year, hundreds of thousands of students graduate college — and maybe, this year was your year. Finally, the stress of homework, the boredom of lectures and classes, and the fear of failing undergrad is over. Now, if you are not done with your schooling, I wish you the best of luck in continuing your academic journey. But, for my free besties, you’re now faced with an even more challenging decision: What to tell family and friends what your next plans are.

Not every graduating college student has a job lined up, a wedding to plan, or a baby to welcome, so what are you supposed to tell everyone? That you’re meeting the girlies for brunch on a “school day” now? That’s totally not happening when I graduate — I want my family to think I’m moving on to the next big thing with my degree that we spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on and applying it somewhere. 

Some grads feel comfortable enough to admit to family and friends that an immediate job, relationship, or family isn’t it, but what about everyone dealing with secrets and the “shame” of not having life ready for them? Here are some tips that a fellow fear-driven girl is dealing with.

“What are your post-grad job plans?”

If you’re totally set in what you’re doing after graduation career-wise, go ahead and brag! However, to my underprepared besties, let’s talk. You have a couple of options as to what to tell the merciless family and friends that insist on answers: 

“I’m searching for the right fit.”

My favorite line to use is, “I’m looking for something that I feel comfortable/qualified enough to take on.” Most likely, you’ll get hit with the “just find a job, you can change later,” to which I raise the question to my inquirers: why waste an employer’s time? That’ll hush ‘em for a while. 

“I’m looking into opportunities at ______.”

If you feel like your family’s inquiries are too relentless, tell them that you need more experience to qualify for a good-paying job. Name-drop some non-profits you’re interested in or ideas you have that they maybe don’t know too much about. 

“Are you still with (insert ex’s name)?

First of all, ew. Second of all, ew. It’s an awkward question, but one you’re bound to face at some point. I hate when my family brings up past interests, flames, or relationships, especially if they ended badly, but that’s one of the things you may have to bear.

“No, I’m happy on my own right now.”

Generally, I like to tell my family that my ex did or said something that the family wouldn’t agree with so they’ll never bring them up again. (Works like a charm.) However, sometimes, if you keep things vague, they’ll probably get the hint.

“Are You dating anyone?”

If you’re planning your wedding or fresh off the honeymoon or even just in a stable relationship, tell your family what you wish, but my fellow singles sometimes need outs. So, for my single peeps out there, I typically go with:

“Not at the moment, I’m focusing on myself and my career.”

Tell the fam that you’re looking for someone you would feel proud to introduce to them. Tell them that no one fits the moral bill and that you feel they should create a good relationship and/or family environment. Or, you could settle for saying that you’re focusing on yourself: Who doesn’t love self-love?

“When are you having kids?”

For many post-grads out there, this can be a doozy. However, you’re bound to hear it at some point.

“When I’m stable enough in my career, I’d love to have kids in the future!”

A good excuse for not being prepared for children is honesty. You may not be ready for kids or maybe you and your partner have agreed to wait. A good idea to bring up is that you want to be financially stable or married or whatever your truth is until you welcome kids.

“Honestly, I’m not looking to have kids in the future.”

I, personally, at this point in my life feel like I might not want kids in my future, and I’m willing to tell everyone my truth. However, if you don’t feel comfortable or willing to explain yourself (which you shouldn’t have to do). 

It’s not exactly a breeze to dodge or explain questions after graduation, but let’s try to make it as painless as possible.

Bridget Anderson is a HerCampus National contributor writing from Texas. She focuses on wellness coverage, primarily about mental health issues, but she also loves writing about personal experiences and life in general. Outside of her HerCampus work, Bridget writes poetry and creative short stories. Her poetry has been featured in several publications and she has won multiple awards for her narrative writing. She is currently a senior at Baylor University where she studies English and political science. As a part time job, Bridget tutors the Baylor athletes in all things writing. In her everyday life, outside of pleasure writing, Bridget spends her time watching Beat Bobby Flay and random Disney movies while snuggling with her two rescue dogs Gus and Genie. She’s an avid reader but always makes time for coffee dates with her best girlfriends.