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How I Decided My Plans For After College

Graduating from college has always been a scary idea for me. If we’re being completely honest, I never thought I’d get this far or live this long. So the idea that graduation is only 5 weeks away… well that has me scared out of my mind. There are so many questions running through my head at any point every day.

Where will I live? What career do I want to pursue? Should I travel now or wait until later on in life? Will there be a “later on in life?” What’s my next step? Do I want to work this summer? Should I spend this summer sleeping and doing absolutely nothing? Where will I end up in life? Everyone I know is married or in a relationship, so does that make me behind in life? Do I even want that kind of life?

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If you’re also asking these types of questions, then let me just say that a deep breath is needed. Inhale, exhale. It’s become my motto the last few weeks that my anxiety has begun to spin out of control. The first step is to figure out what you want in life. Personally, I have a dream life, not a dream job. I want to be able to travel the world and not be stressed about money. I want to rescue a dog and give them a forever home. I want to fall in love and be happy. I always thought that I’d never have kids because I never wanted them to experience the life I had or the hardships that life has to offer, but lately, I’ve been having really bad baby fever, so that’s also something I need to consider.

Next, I began thinking about the types of careers I could enjoy doing for the rest of my life. Working at Starbucks has been great security for the past five years for me, and I wouldn’t mind working for the company if I was a manager or higher up in corporate. Especially with all the benefits that I know would come with it - lots of paid vacation, my own work schedule, healthcare, and dental insurance - staying at Starbucks wouldn’t be a bad life and I could live anywhere. On the other spectrum, passion, I’d love to work with books for the rest of my life. Opening a bookstore/ coffee shop, working as a publisher or editor, or as a book reviewer, would be pretty cool and I know I’d never lose interest.

Going off of the book industry idea, I started to look into job opportunities and availability. With the companies that interested me and COVID, there are not many opportunities available right now. If I could work in this industry, I think I’d pursue a career at Harper Collins Publishers since there are different publishing companies under HCP. When looking into job offers right now, the best thing I could do is apply to become an editing assistant in San Francisco. That would help determine where I’d live. However, they require at least a year of relevant experience, which I don’t have. So that would lead me to try to find an entry-level job in the industry somewhere else.

[bf_image id="p79tv2rcv2mjrknc6xv9bv8"] Since I currently have a job with Starbucks, with a planned promotion after I graduate, I decided that staying another year in my current place would be a good idea. That takes care of money and where I live. Being out of school, it’ll give me time to find a way into the book publishing industry. Hopefully, by this time next year, the world will have a new normal and more job opportunities will be available for me to look into since entry-level editing positions near me are non-existent.

[bf_image id="gsf3bvgh2b4z85vnxq9pqgp"] As for everything else, with the year I’ve given myself at Starbucks, I can travel whenever I’d like or I could spend the time creating a resume of experiences that will help me break into the industry that I’d like. It also gives me time to change my mind and find a different career that I’d like. After weeks of thinking this out and talking about it with others, I feel like the anxiety in me has calmed down. I can stress about getting through the next few weeks of school, and worry about life after… after I graduate. It helps when you remind yourself that you don’t need to have everything figured out!

Kayli Strawn

UC Riverside '21

4th Year at UC Riv Just a hopeless romantic who wants a Carrie Bradshaw life. I love reading romance novels and eating mac n cheese or sweet potato fries! If I’m not out on an adventure with my friends, I’m either working as a barista or trying to catch up on some much needed sleep!
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