As we prepare to go home for Thanksgiving break, college seniors everywhere are also preparing to answer a slew of questions that instantly trigger our anxiety about the future. We are excited to see our families, we are not excited for the questions they have. To my fellow college seniors, we will survive...somehow. And to the friends and family of college seniors, please think of the well-being of these students before asking these questions:
1. Are you really a senior?
Yes, I’m really a senior. I realize that I’m short and look young, and that time has flown by, and that you've known me since I was this big, but please don’t discredit all the work I’ve done for three plus years. I’m a senior and I’ve worked hard to get here.
2. Do you know what you’re going to do next year?
No, no I don’t. And it’s terrifying. I know what I’m interested in, I know what I like, and I am ready to pay my dues in the field I want to work in. But I don’t know yet, and available jobs are limited and the number is shrinking. So you asking me isn’t helping with the pressure and anxiety surrounding the question.
3. Why not go straight to graduate school?
Because I'm tired! And I’ve been in school since I was 5 years old, so I think I’ve earned a break. I plan to go to grad school after a working for a year or two, but I need a break from academia. Also, I don’t have time to write a senior thesis and study for the GRE. Plus, the average age of an international affairs grad student is 26.
4. Are you just interested in that because that's what your parents do?
No. I am my own, independent person and have discovered my passions on my own. Of course my parents and upbringing have influenced my interests, but I would like to think that I have found my own path and in my own way. However, I’m very grateful for the support my parents have given me as I’ve discovered this path and pursued it across the world.
5. What’s your thesis about?
I understand that people want to know, but it would probably be more effective for me to print business cards with the answer on them instead of constantly repeating myself. So, for the last time I will be studying the influence of negative stereotypes on public support for Syrian refugee relocation. And yes, it is a timely issue. And yes, especially now.
6. Are you sad that this is your last year of college?
Yes and no. Going into college, I knew it would take four years and I am ready to complete my final year and enter the real world. I’ve had some terrific experiences in college, but like all good things, this too must come to an end.
I realize that it would probably be easier if next year I had a flow chart with all of these questions blown up and had corresponding answers, but I didn't plan far enough ahead. So for now, take these answers and trust that I will somehow be okay. I have to believe that it will be.
There is one thing I can guarantee I'll do next year more than I've done in the past four...