You see, I have this problem.
I don’t know what I want to do after I leave university. I don’t even know what field I want to go into after university.
Sure, I’m studying psychology, but it’s a subject that can be applied to multiple areas.
That doesn’t exactly help me narrow it down a whole lot…
There are some people, you know those people, who seem to have had their lives planned out since playschool.
And then there’s me….
The gaping big hole of the ‘unknown’ after university is something that I’ve come to terms with. Mostly. Occasionally I feel terror creeping in when I see people bragging on Facebook about all their amazing internships and how they’ve got their dream jobs secured before they’ve even finished, but mostly I feel curiosity and a nervous hopefulness about what’s going to come next. You see, because I don’t know what I want to do, I don’t have the pressure or fear that comes with trying to achieve it, at the moment life is all possibility. And that’s okay with me.
Unfortunately, this answer doesn’t satisfy most people.
In every direction I turn, I find myself being faced with the same question from family, lecturers, friends, acquaintances, even random people I’ve only just met.
It’s the question dreaded by students everywhere.
“So *insert name here*, what are your plans for after university?”
*Aims dagger stares. Crushes person with mind.*
Okay, okay, so it’s a pretty standard question, and one that’s bound to come up in conversation, especially during small talk. But it’s also one that when asked repeatedly strikes fear into my heart because I don’t have a plan, and that’s scary. Worse still, when I tell someone this I can practically hear crickets and FEEL THE JUDGEMENT.
And god forbid if you dare say anything like ‘I just really want to be happy with what I do next’ or ‘I just want to take it easy for a while’ or even ‘I might just get a non-degree related job for a bit’ because what’s the point of going to university and putting yourself in tonnes of debt if you don’t instantly get a high paid job and conquer the universe?
I’ve had to deal with this question from the first year of my degree, but now it’s gotten to the point where I’m asked this on a daily basis. Not only does that make it repetitive and extremely annoying, it also makes me feel like I am somehow a failure of a human because I DON’T HAVE A LIFE PLAN FOR POST UNIVERSITY TO RETIREMENT AND THEN THE AFTERLIFE.
So, in order to combat this problem, I started making up all sorts of silly answers – sometimes saying them out loud, sometimes keeping them to myself depending on how brave I was feeling on said day when the question came up. I started playing this little game to prevent me from causing bodily harm (it’s possible I have a violent streak, at least in my head). So, I thought I would put them on a blog post, thinking some other people out there might relate, be struggling with the same problems OR just find it kinda funny! So here we go, here are my post-university plans!
So, the thing to take away from this post? At the end of the day, most third year students and graduates don’t know what they want to do at the end of their university degree, and frankly, that’s kind of scary. The unknown is scary, but it can also be exciting and liberating if you look at it the right way. Yes, thinking about the practicalities of life aka, money, is important, but the point is, you don’t have to have it figured out immediately.
So next time you have a conversation with a final year student, do them the favour and avoid the ‘what are you going to do after university’ question. 😉
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So, if you’ve made it through this rambly post, did you have an after university plan? Did you end up with the career you were expecting? Do you freak out when you don’t have a goal or do you feel excited when exploring the unknown? Let me know in the comments!