I am graduating soon, but I have no idea what I want to do with my degree just yet. My professors and family members are constantly asking me about this and trying to give me advice, but I’m feeling stressed and anxious.
There are also some who try throwing scare tactics on me to quickly accept any job offer I received. I don’t want to be rude about their help, but I always shrug them off. What should I do about this? -Stressed Senior
Dear Stressed Senior,
When I first went to Rowan for an open house I remember hating the fact that I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I thought that other people might be able to help me so I asked every professor the same question: “What can you do with a writing and English major?”
I approached a strict-looking English professor, whose name I unfortunately forgot, but I’ll never forget his answer.
He said, “Think about what you would want to do on a rainy Saturday. If you wouldn’t mind doing your career on a Saturday you know it’s right for you.”
As I began to leave he stopped me again and said, “Don’t tell anyone about what you want to do either. Everyone has too many opinions about what you should do in life. It only confuses you.”
I never saw the professor again, but he helped me throughout my search for what I want to do after college. Honestly, I think his advice is good for you, too.
I think it’s good that your family and professors want to help you with your future career. It shows you that they really care about your future. But at the end of the day, it’s your future and using scare tactics doesn’t help anyone.
In fact, if scare tactics worked, everyone would be employed. Instead, you need earnest thought and reflection to figure out what you want to do in your life.
The fact is that you still have time. It’s not much. But you still can figure it out before graduation. It’s kind of crazy to think that you haven’t even walked and you’re pressured to find a job. Although everyone means well, you have to nip this behavior in the bud.
This is your life and you are entitled to do what you choose with it. Anyone who can’t handle this is a hindrance to your progress. The next time that someone comments on your future, you have to set them straight. Tell them that you’ll figure out what you are going to do and you’re exploring your options. End of story.
As for figuring out what you physically want to do with the rest of your life, you can’t. Sorry. You are ever changing. You are young. You’ll never know what the future holds for you until it’s the present.
You have to ask yourself what you want to do for the near future, not for the rest of your life. Who cares about what you want to do at 40? People change careers all the time. You are serving your best interests right now and need to figure out what you want to do in the moment, and right now you are about to have a college degree and plenty of options. I can name a few people who don’t even have that.
Before you graduate, try new things. Get an internship. Look up as many jobs that you think you’d be interested in and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Honestly, the only thing that you can do right now is being proactive in trying new things. Then remember that there is no pressure on figuring out everything the moment you graduate.
Heck, if it turns out that you hate your first job then go get another one. Don’t get caught up in what you should be doing and start thinking about what you want to do.
Because if I’m being honest, people study English and become marine biologists later in life. The world is a crazy place, but I do think you end up where you are meant to end up.
You just need to be comfortable but not content in the unknown and believe that you’re able to make the right choices in life. Good luck, Stressed Senior. I believe in you.
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