For the college kids that have no idea where they are going.
For those of you half way through your college careers with an ever growing anxiety about the future, I am here to tell you, you aren’t alone. I think you already knew that, but it’s a good reminder.
I think being a college student is the best disguise for being an insecure, floundering high-schooler. We have no idea where we are going after we graduate, because, for many of us, school is all we have known for roughly 17 years. Many of us haven’t planned “operation: post-grad.”
There is a certain expectation society has for us, though. As we get closer to our careers, that is becoming more and more apparent. We are supposed to have it figured out by now, that’s what we went to school for, right?
“What are you going to do after you graduate?”
“Do you have a job lined up?”
“What are you going to do with that degree?”
When you’re done hyperventilating, reply with what one of my professors once told me, “I can’t tell you, it’s in the future.”
He may have been talking about emerging technology that mass communication students will need to adapt to, but I think it is appropriate here, too. Or for any other question you can’t answer.
The truth is, most of us have high hopes but are scared out of our freakin’ minds about what to do once we throw our caps in the air. Asking us kicks up our anxiety an extra notch, too, when we should be trying to stay calm and collected.
I am lucky; I am only two and a half years into my college career, which means I have another year and a half before my stress level rises to that of my peers who graduate this May.
This is the best advice I can come up with to give them:
Apply, apply, apply. It doesn’t matter if you think you aren’t going to get it, if it interests you, apply anyway. So what if they say no? You were already half expecting it, and hey, maybe you’ll get a yes. I know you keep hearing that, but you’re not doing it yet. So do it!
Internships don’t have to stop after school. It literally does not matter if it isn’t paid because it only means you will continue working your current job (which you would have been doing without a new job anyway). The right internship will get your foot in the door and you can network from there.
It seems like many of my peers are drowning without even looking for a raft. Some of us have become so used to the current plan that we forgot how to make a new one.
My moral of the story is to adjust your expectations. Society has this habit of assuming what college kids should be doing. Well, forget ‘em. Do you. Make it up as you go along. The most important part is to actually try, though. Trying doesn’t mean getting the best job right out of college, either. We’ve started from the bottom before, we can do it again. And we will. And no one has the right to judge you for it, including yourself.
Life will work itself out. It always has in the past, right?