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I Don’t Know What I’m Doing After Graduation – And That’s Okay

When I started my college career at UMass Amherst, I was really excited to have a plan. I loved psychology for as long as I could remember, so I knew it was the perfect major for me. I also added English into the mix my second semester, since it was another passion of mine. No, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do after college - it was still early, right? It felt good to have an idea of what the next four years could hold! No scrambling to change my major, no wondering if I was on the right path; just harmony.

 

Fast forward to my last semester of college, and I’m more confused than ever. I graduate in about two months, and I have no idea what I want to do. Grad school? Probably. My unofficial plan had always been to go into the therapy field, meaning I’d need to get a Master's in mental health counseling. Sometimes, I find myself questioning if this is really the right career path for me. I know it would be fulfilling, but would I really be cut out for it?

Instead of jumping right into a career I’m not completely positive I want, I decided to take a year or two off and jump into the job market. The problem is, finding jobs related to this field is hard. On top of that, I have so many other interests I could explore, and it makes it even harder to figure out what kinds of jobs I should be looking for. On the one hand, I really want to work in a psychology field. I truly do love it with all of my heart, and I could see myself doing it forever. But finding entry-level jobs that are actually related to the field isn’t as easy as one might think. Still though, I apply to whatever I can find.

 

On the other hand, there are so many other things that I’m passionate about. How do I ignore those interests? I love to write, and I would be happy to be a full-time writer, whether it's for a company like Her Campus, or something else altogether. Perhaps I could combine writing and psychology into one. I also have an intense love for traveling, and though it’s a little harder to make a career out of that, it’s not impossible.

Recently I was complaining to my friend about how I have no idea what to do after graduation. She asked, “Well, what do you want to do?” to which I responded, “I just want to travel and write.” Her answer back to me was simple, she said: “So just do that.” 

 

I know life is more complicated than that. Becoming a travel writer is not easy by any means, and then there are finances to worry about, and my family and friends back home. And I still adore psychology, and don’t want to give that up. So, realistically, it’s probably not going to happen. It’s not that simple. But sometimes I wonder if it can be.

The thing is, even if it’s not so easy, that conversation really made me think. I’m so young, with so much life ahead of me. My responsibilities are still few and far between. I should be looking for jobs that I’m really, truly interested in and jobs that I believe will inspire me and bring me joy. No half-heartedly applying to research positions that I don’t really have an interest in, and no sitting around, stressed, wondering what I’m going to do.

 

Maybe I’ll become a mental health counselor and help kids and teens like I’ve always planned, and maybe I’ll love it and I won’t be able to imagine my life any other way. Maybe I’ll travel and write, and be the happiest I’ve ever been. Maybe I’ll try out five different jobs, just because I can, before finding one that’s actually right for me. I guess that’s the beauty of not knowing - all the possibility that lies before me. So no, I don’t know what I’m doing after college, but that’s okay. I’ll figure it out. 

 

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Maria Arvanitis

U Mass Amherst '19

Maria is a senior studying psychology and English at UMass Amherst. She has a passion for traveling, animals, and 80s movies, and her hair color is always changing. Find her on Instagram: @m.ria
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