As a senior in my last semester of college, I’ve encountered one question more than any other: “What are you doing after graduation?”
There is no question I dread answering more.
Growing up, everyone goes through a laundry list of possible career options: ballerina, doctor, marine biologist, rock star, but eventually most people settle on one. But what about those of us who can’t? We have to suffer the embarrassment of answering, “I don’t know yet.”
There is no reason to be embarrassed.
Sure, it’s nice to have a plan to follow, to know where you’re going and to have your every step mapped out. However, another option is to forget about making a plan &- at least at first.
While having an end goal in sight from the moment you set foot in your freshman dorm room is admirable and certainly shows initiative, but it’s not for everyone. Recent studies show that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of students begin their college careers without a declared major, and many graduates find themselves in careers far outside their original field of study.
Some people need to take the time to enjoy their college experience and just let things happen. Sometimes the best course of action is to let the universe guide you where you need to go. College is hard enough without stressing out about the far-off future.
One of the great things about college is that not only can you meet all kinds of people and form lifelong friendships, but you also have the opportunity to expose yourself to new ideas and fields of study. These opportunities could even lead to an answer for that most feared of questions. Maybe you will take a class about archaeology on a whim and find your life’s calling, or maybe you’ll read a book in the library or go see a guest lecturer and discover a way of making a living that never occurred to you.
As liberating as it might be to just go with the flow. Eventually a decision must be made. I’m certainly not advocating that you should walk across the stage at commencement without having given a thought to what you’ll be doing the next day.
One of the most valuable sources on campus is Career Services, and that is exactly where you should turn if you have no clue about what to do after graduation. The office can help you figure out what to do with your life, whether you’re about to graduate or haven’t even settled on a major yet.
Knowing what you’re going to do after graduation is great. Having a plan from day one is great. However, if you don’t, there’s no need to despair. There are many resources available to you as a TCU student that can help you find your way. Until then, enjoy the time you have.
Caitlin Shaw is a senior English major from Fort Worth.