Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

I don’t know exactly what I want to do after graduation, and that’s okay.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

As the holidays are quickly approaching, I’m sure most of us, if not all of us, will get asked one of these dreaded questions that we all get asked throughout senior year.

“What are you going to do after graduation?”

“What are you getting your degree in? What do you want to do with that?”

“Where are you living after graduation?”

“What is your dream job?”

Getting asked these questions can be exciting but can equally be intimidating, terrifying and overwhelming all at once. If you’re like me, you are not 100% sure what you want to do after graduation. I do have an idea, but I have no idea where I’m going to live, the exact role I will fill or even where I want to work. I am fortunate to have a good idea of my strengths, skills and what I think I want to do. But in reality, how do I, or anyone, know for sure?

And the answer I have come up with is that we don’t. I don’t. I don’t know what I want to do or where I will be exactly post-graduation. And I think one thing we don’t talk about or recognize enough is that that is perfectly okay.

As it turns out, 44% of students have no idea what they want to do after graduation (44% of students don’t know what they want to do after graduation – Concrete (concrete-online.co.uk)). Only 27% of post-graduate students end up working in a field or position directly related to their degree or what they studied (Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major – The Washington Post).

I don’t bring up these statistics to scare or discourage anyone, I bring them up to remind you, and myself, that we are not alone. So many people don’t know what they “want to do” after graduation, and so many people end up doing something completely different than what they earned their degree in or what they thought they would do.

While this information may seem scary, I look to it with optimism. I look to the future and instead of worrying or being afraid, I do my best to look to it with excitement about what is to come. We often forget that the unknown can be just as exciting as scary or worrisome.

So, this fall or winter if you celebrate the holidays and are surrounded by family or people who may be asking you, “So what do you want to do after graduation?” I like to keep in mind that it’s okay not to know. And it’s okay to not have an exact plan. And if you do have a set plan, that’s okay too! But if you’re like me and you don’t really have any idea, it’s okay to tell people that you are not sure; knowing that whatever may happen, it will all work out.  

Millie Dean

Illinois State '23

HI! My name is Millie and I love writing for Her Campus! I'm a senior at Illinois State University studying Public Relations and minoring in Graphic Design. My other interests include art, embroidery, thrifting, and photography. I love to be able to be creative in my interests and in my articles on Her Campus. Follow me on Instagram! @milliedean5