Art by Peau Porotesano
Graduation is slowly but surely creeping up on seniors, along with the awful question we will all have to face: “What do you plan to do after graduation?”
My answer is always the same. Embarrassed, and feeling slightly pressured to have it all together, I say, “I’m not sure.”
Oftentimes it seems as though my peers have it all figured out. The majority of those I’ve spoken with have plans to pursue grad school, while others have interviews or even jobs lined up for them as soon as they walk across the stage.
My classmates’ plans made me feel more pressure, which is rooted in societal standards and often perpetuated by those around me who are on the fast track to success — that is, until I truly grappled with the alternative reality: I can’t be the only one who experiences an occasional breakdown at the thought of where I’ll be post-graduation.
I finally realized during my final semester as an undergrad that not all of us have it all together. Not everyone has to know the exact path they’ll take as soon as they take on adulthood. The reality is that it may be too soon to have our entire future planned out.
The truth is we are still growing, learning and developing as people — so how are we supposed to know our own identities and purpose in the world? It’s completely normal not to have that element of our lives mapped out step by step.
People should consider what they’re most passionate about in life, what triggers their curiosity and fulfills them. Us soon-to-be college grads should look for what gives us a purpose as we jump into the real world, rather than adopting the artificial label that says, “I’ve got my entire life figured out at 22.”
Life happens, and sometimes things don’t work out the way we originally planned. Although many of us feel a fiery passion or calling to pursue a specific career (as I do), we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we aren’t at the finish line yet.
If you have a passion, go after it, but try not to stress out as much as I often do at the thought of my post-graduation plans. We’re all in the same boat.
Follow Vanessa Dillon on Twitter: @v_nicoledillon