Why it's Okay to Have No Idea What You're Going to Do After Graduating

There is a direct relationship between how soon you are graduating and how often you are asked a college student's most dreaded question. Any time you attend a family gathering, meet with a professor or run into a neighbor at the grocery store, you can expect to hear the question. It brings about feelings of terror and uncertainty. The asker typically means well and is just making small talk, but for anyone who doesn't have a clear career path after college, there is nothing worse than hearing, "So...what are you going to do after you graduate?"

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First and foremost, this question is scary because it is a direct reminder that our time in college has an expiration date. The closer that date is, the worse the question becomes. It reminds us that real life is on the horizon, a life in which we no longer live with our best friends and have countless resources at our fingertips. If that doesn't make you scared and/or sad, you probably are not between the ages of 18 and 22.

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The question becomes infinitely worse when you are someone that doesn't have an answer. Many students choose majors and fields that they are interested in but do not know exactly what position or what company they want to work for in the future.

I am a part of this population of students. For a while, I was very stressed about figuring out what I was going to do and how I was going to get there. As I have progressed through my college journey, I have learned that not having a specific plan is not as big of an issue as I feared. Obviously, finding my career path is still a priority, but by putting less pressure on myself, I have been able to take steps towards learning what the best path for my future might be.

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Because I came into college without a strict program set for myself, I have been able to take a much wider variety of courses than others. Through these courses, I have been exposed to a vast number of ideas and professors that have helped me to examine not only my learning but also how some aspects of each class can fit into my future. Professors have taught me about careers that I didn't even know were options when I first came into school. Without a structured path, I can follow things that catch my attention. By gaining experience working and interning in a variety of positions, I have learned even more about just how many options are out there for me. Coming into college at 18, I was not ready to commit to a job for the rest of my life. Now, at 22, I'm still not 100% sure where I intend to end up, but today I have a better understanding and appreciation of many careers in my field. I know that no matter where I end up, or how long it takes me to get there, I will be graduating with a solid education and experience that will lead me to where I need to be.