When you don't have a post-grad plan

By Brigid Lowney | April 8, 2019 10:22am

When your friends are going to Harvard Business School, doing a year of service, have a fancy job lined up and then there's you. Photo illustration by Annika Gordon.

Media Credit: Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Graduation is four weeks away — yup, just let that sink in — and us seniors are trying to finish up our capstone projects and final assignments before we walk across that stage on May 5. It seems like everyone around me has their post-grad plans figured out — a year of service in a cool country, a fancy job at some big name company, grad school at a Top Ten University. And then there’s me. 

Yeah, that’s right. I have no idea what I’m going to do after graduation. And that’s okay. (Right? I think that’s okay. My mom said it was okay.)

You see, I’m an English major. And before I go any further let me just say that no, I’m not going to be a teacher. Contrary to popular belief, you can do a lot with an English major. But that’s also part of the problem. There’s too many options, and I have no clue which path to take.

Do I want to do a year of service? Should I take a gap year and be a barista for awhile? Should I travel? Or should I just accept whatever job will take me? I. Don’t. Know. 

One of the worst parts about not having a post-grad plan is how people react. Whether it’s a family friend or just my uber driver, I’m usually met with looks of judgment and furrowed brows when I tell people I don’t know what my future holds.

But I’ve decided that instead of letting these reactions get in my head, that I’ll start having a little fun of my own. Now when people ask me what I’m going to do post-grad, I’ll respond with the most ridiculous thing I can think of:

  • Pursue a career as a traveling poet
  • Make a viral video and become an instagram influencer overnight
  • Join a commune
  • Live at home forever

All jokes aside, if you’re a senior and you don’t have a clear path after graduation just know that you’re not alone. There’s plenty of college seniors out there who are just trying to figure it all out, and that’s okay because we have so much time ahead of us. 

We’re young. We’re 22. We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time (shoutout to Taylor Swift). And we don’t need to have our entire lives planned out before we’ve even stepped to into the real world. As the great Phoebe Buffay once said when Monica asked her if she had a plan: “I don’t even have a pla-” 

I’ve been told that a big part of your twenties is not only finding out what you want to do, but also what you don’t want to do. The next decade will be a lot of trial and error. It’s a time for discovery. So much will change, and we’ll change, too. It’s okay not to know how things are going to turn out. 

The best advice I can give (which I’m trying to follow myself) is to live in the moment. Enjoy your last few weeks with your best friends. Visit your favorite spots on campus. Go to Salt n Straw one last time. And soak in all the memories. We have our whole lives to worry about the future, but we only have four weeks left of college. So, seniors, don’t let it pass you by.

Brigid Lowney is the living editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at lowney19@up.edu.