6 Annoying Post-Graduation Questions (& How to Answer Them)

You’ve taken your last college class, finished your internship and finally walked across the stage to accept your diploma. Now you can celebrate with all your closest friends and family, because you are officially a college graduate!

Although the journey to graduation herds seniors along a similar path, post-graduation plans aren’t always set in stone. While some lucky seniors are boasting about multiple job offers or are heading off to grad school, many graduates find themselves in an “oh crap” moment of realizing that they still have no idea what they’re doing with their lives (which is totally okay). And thanks to abundant family phone calls and dinners celebrating your graduation, the same old questions pop up over and over again, haunting you for answers you don’t have. Ignore the disapproving looks from Aunt Jane and take advantage of these tactful answers to the six most annoying questions posed about your post-graduation life!

1. “What’s your plan?”

What you should say:

“I’m going to enjoy my summer and use this time to figure out which direction I want to take my career in.”

Good news: You’re not alone in your post-graduation joblessness. Bad news: You still don’t have a job. “It’s a nosy question that assumes you should have it all figured out in your early 20s,” says college alumna Kayla.

These are your last moments as a young adult without any life-changing obligations or important career choices. Live it up! Travel with your friends, volunteer abroad, take an internship or just chill, and then designate a time during the day that you’ll devote to the job hunt.

2. “When are you two getting married?”

What you should say:

“We’re only 22 years old and are just enjoying being together and living in the present,” suggests University of Iowa alumna Colie Lumbreras.

Getting married is a huge decision, and if you’re not ready for it, don’t let your family pressure you. People love an excuse to dress up, drink champagne and eat cake. Plus, the grandparents want little grandchildren to bake cookies and knit sweaters for. Remind them that when it happens, it’ll happen, and you will definitely send a wedding invitation their way when it does.

3. “Are you thinking about grad school?”

What you should say:

“Grad school is not currently in my plan. I’m focusing on finding a job, but I would still consider furthering my education.”

You would think that after spending a gazillion dollars on a college degree, people would commend the option to start making money instead of spending it on more school. If you’re not thinking of going back to the books just yet (or ever), acknowledge that grad school is a realistic option, but also emphasize that you are working on standing on your own two feet before going for a higher degree.

4. “Why are you working there? Is that what you went to school for?”

What you should say:

“I’m working toward where I want to be, even though circumstances don’t allow me to take the traditional route,” suggests Kenyatta Giddings, an alumna from the University of Texas at Austin.

So you’re working as a barista instead of at your dream company. Good for you to have a job to begin with! Even if your current job title doesn’t reflect it, tell the people who ask what kind of career you hope to have. You never know where it will lead!

Although she hated it, Bustle writer Erin Mayer says she’s glad that she worked in retail after graduating because it taught her that nothing lasts forever, including having not-so-great jobs. “If I hadn't spent those months biding my time in a retail position, I wouldn't have come across the internship that allowed me to pursue my passion for a living,” she says.

It may suck, but it’s steady money, there’s room for growth and the customer service skills you acquire will help your resume and serve you well in the future!

5. “Why are you moving back home?”

What you should say:  

“I’m moving back in to save up money for an eventual move and get secure within my job industry before taking the next step on my own.”

So what if you move back home? Yeah, you might have to deal with pesky siblings, nosy parents and little privacy, but it saves you a ton of money and helps you get a solid footing before moving out on your own. Plus, you still get mom’s good ole home cooking, family vacations and free laundry. Emphasize these perks and explain that being around the people you love is the best environment to foster your making the next big decision in your life.

6. “Are you ready for the real world?”

What you should say:

“I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in my life has to offer!”

It’s impossible to be 100 percent ready for life after college. Suddenly your closet consists of blazers, button-downs and slacks instead of cute tank tops and jean shorts; you go out to eat at fancy restaurants instead of eating cereal for dinner and you stay home on Thursday nights cause you’re too tired from a full day at work. Growing up happens! You may not feel totally ready, but you can still take on the next step with excitement.

Remember to take every question thrown at you as an opportunity to challenge yourself and prove that what you learned in your four years at college was worth it. Answer with pride and respect (and maybe throw in a little hair flip, too).