By Thea O’Dell
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me the always anxiety-inducing question, “So, what are your plans after graduation?” I’d be a millionaire and then some.
I think the biggest reason why people love to ask all soon-to-be college grads this age-old question is mainly because they want to hear about the hopefulness in our lives and our futures. But it really only makes it worse for us.
Maybe it’s because they feel obligated to ask after you announce the “big day.” Maybe it’s just out of genuine curiosity. Or maybe, just maybe, it really is because they want to hear us say that we have amazing things planned ahead since they know they’ve passed that point in their lives and put their dreams on a shelf years ago for careers and all of the other “adult stuff” instead.
Personally, I feel that more oftentimes than not it’s the latter that prompts the cliche college-grad question. I’ll admit, it does terrify me to think that I could someday be in the same position as one of those people, so maybe their genuine curiosity is justified.
I am completely and utterly unnerved by the idea of ending up settling for a job that I didn’t necessarily love because I felt that I needed to grow up immediately and have something that would “pay the bills.” I’m scared of missing out on opportunities to travel the world and instead taking odd jobs that would help me get by.
While some may say that 21 or 22 or even 23 years is more than enough time to have fun and grow up, I will always disagree with that. How is it that we are expected to finish 16 or more years of schooling, which is a routine that we essentially know like the backs of our hands, and then all of a sudden know exactly what we plan to do for the rest of our lives as soon as we step off of that graduation stage?
I don’t want this to become an excuse for not getting our acts together, but there are truly some of us out there that need time to explore, experience and find ourselves in wherever life might take us for awhile. There is just too much to see and do to settle and become complacent in our lives at the ripe ages of our early 20s.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that the post-grad plans question will never cease to exist, but I also know what I want and what’s best for me. Many peers my age that are just too afraid to say it.
We’ve been told from a young age how life is supposed to go: graduate from school, get a job, get married, have a family and happily ever after we go. I’m not saying that this isn’t the ideal set-up for some, because it may be. However, graduates also cannot be fearful of speaking up and breaking tradition to fight the cliche that we are all supposed to fulfill once we toss our caps in the air and receive that one coveted piece of paper.
Life is truly too short to not take leaps of faith, risk loss and not try to do what makes you the happiest.
Maybe this involves taking culinary classes, backpacking through Spain for three months or even just taking on a job that puts you out of your comfort zone for awhile. Whatever it is, you owe yourself to at least try it. Stability with a career will be waiting for you when you’re ready ” the opportunity for adventure will not. What will you decide?
Monica Lopez / Staff Writer
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