Some interesting questions arose while I was fixing out a kink in my consistently changing life plan this past week. Like all college students finishing up their last couple of semesters, I have been bombarded with the age-old question: “What are you going to do after you graduate?” I quickly have taught myself to react with a smile and to simply reply with an “I don’t know.”
With each passing year, the question becomes more and more frequent. We hear it from peers and professors, our family and even random strangers. I have a dear friend who refuses to talk to certain family members in order to avoid the question altogether. But that question is something not to be avoided. We all are eventually going to leave school and the college community (unless you have the goal of becoming a professor- then, you are brave). We will all fall under that societal stereotype and find that life-long career. Most of us will marry. Some will divorce. We’ll have children and then grandchildren and grow old on the porches of Victorian- style house or at nursing homes. We all will just fade out and become that little number tally marked by the Census Bureau every ten years, moving down each age brackets: 20-25, 26-30, 31-35, et cetera, et cetera.
Thus, that question leads me to two more questions. If we are expected to follow that stereotypical norm (and I am under the assumption that we are, since we are going to college, which could be considered as the next step in society’s plan), why are constantly asked of our plans after school? Is it just people being polite? Or them trying to make small talk? And if we are aware of what is expected and is to become of our futures, why are we in a constant fear of the question?
Looking at my friends who have graduated and have found a job and living out their own individual dreams, I try not to focus on the question or even the questions. Instead of avoiding them, I think about the day-by-day goals I will eventually achieve and the stories that I will one day have the opportunity to share with others. And for when people ask me the dreaded question, I still smile, to reply with, “I’m going to do something.”