Don't Ask Me What My Plans Are After Graduation

07/23/2012 10:44 am ET | Updated Sep 22, 2012
  • Lara Grant University of Texas Journalism Student

I'm 21 years old. Should I know what I want to do for the rest of my life?

There's only one year left before that daunting day when I walk across the stage to join the workforce. Although it's exciting that my then-17 years of education will be coming to a close, it's also terrifying. Making matters worse, the only question I hear nowadays is, "What do you want to do when you graduate?"

Now that I have three years of college under my belt, it would only be natural for me to know which career path I want to take. I chose journalism before I even stepped foot on campus and I take comfort in the fact that I have not changed my major once, considering few students feel that they made the right choice the first time around. In fact, at my university, roughly two-thirds of college students change their majors, a statistic that is widely reflected in colleges across the country.

Nevertheless, just because I am confident in my chosen major doesn't mean I know what job specifically I would like once I graduate. A journalism degree can lead to many different careers: writer, editor, videographer, and now frequently social media manager, public relations consultant, etc. I have about five different areas I'm more than willing to explore.

I'll have to be open to various fields anyway as the The New York Times reported that unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds was 13.2 percent in April. This means that planning may be a futile attempt and prolonging my education seems like a safer route.

This next year will involve me internally panicking as I struggle to decide where to send my resume. There will be many company websites bookmarked, Word documents filled with lists of my options and nights where I debate graduate school. With all this expected self-inflicted stress, it would be nice to not have any added pressure from outsiders.

Whether a professor, boss, family friend or stranger I've just met, it seems I'm always subjected to the question of what exactly I want to do once I finish college. While I have a general idea, I'm still not certain. I'm not one of the well-prepared students who already have a job lined up with Google or Goldman Sachs and I'd rather not be reminded of such.

College is a time to discover what you want to do with the rest of your life and I'd like to be able to use the full four years to decide what exactly that is. So please refrain from asking me what my plans are after graduation -- my anxiety level and I would both appreciate it.