“What Do You Want To Do After You Graduate?”

“I really have no idea what I want to do.”

 

This is a pretty popular response to the looming question that follows as soon as you commit to a college: “What do you want to do after you graduate?” Over the past couple of months I’ve been thinking about this a lot. As a student who had a pretty good hold on STEM, wanted to help people, and was raised by parents who had fairly clear pathos of education, I have wanted to be a doctor for a very long time now. 

 

Going into sophomore year, pediatric oncology (while slightly morbid) brought a smile to my face, thinking of all the lives I could improve and how much I could learn along the way. However, I was faced with fitting another semester of organic chemistry into my schedule, along with a whole list of other courses I simply didn't want to take. And so, the pre-med dreams drifted away and I was left without a plan. If I wasn't going to be a doctor, what would I do? 

 

Now, as a junior, after almost all of us have lost our sophomore summer internships, I have been hearing this question more and more: “What do you want to do after you graduate?” Quite honestly, if you feel lost thinking about that, don't worry because almost everyone else I’ve spoken to feels the same way. Even most of the people I know who definitely want to go to law school or medical school have no idea what they want their specialties to be.

 

And similarly to looking at colleges, this grand feeling of endless opportunities becomes a looming concern.

 

I'm sure all of you are dying to know what I want to do. After much thought and consideration about the things I love to do and want to influence, I’m currently aiming for a career in sustainable and equitable fashion. I know, it’s not pediatric oncology, but it still offers an opportunity to impact individuals' health. This can be accomplished through mediating the materials that make contact with consumers’ bodies, what chemicals are more present in the environment we interact with, and what resources that are currently used for fashion can be reallocated to improve the livelihoods of people who would reap more benefits from them. I think, with this profession, I can shape people's perceptions of themselves and what it means to have a body worth being proud of. It’s important to offer clothing that is comfortable, good looking, and accommodating for people with special requirements — whether that be functional, sensational, or healthful. And most of all, I still get to continue to learn and be creative with the ways I can improve other people's lives.

So, while the MCAT is not in my future (I think… will we ever really know?), as a junior in college with a new inkling of a plan, I encourage you to take a deep breath and enjoy what you're learning in this moment. My idea of a future took time, acceptance, and a lot of research. Think about what you love to do, what you care about, how they intersect, and how you can apply the skills you're learning in and out of school to come up with a dream job. Then research jobs, ask professionals questions, creepily stalk people on LinkedIn, and continue to learn. Some of the most successful people I’ve met in my life didn’t know they would be in the profession, or even the industry, they are so influential in now. And most importantly, remember you can always end up changing your mind.