"What are you doing after graduation?" They ask as my stomach turns to knots and I fight back the lump in my throat that might either A) be in tears or B) puke. I'll, of course, smile, nod, and do as every college graduate does: lie. "Take a gap year and go to graduate school!" "Well, I have a couple of internships lined up, so we'll see how those work out!" "I don't mean to brag, but I'm really looking into teaching English abroad."
I would absolutely love to meet the person who actually means all of these answers. The person who has totally screwed up the curve for the rest of us. I'd pat them on the back, tell them I'm happy for them and also tell them that they set the bar impossibly too high for 5'2" graduate self. Because here's the real truth:
The minute I toss my hat up into the air, I'm going to look back at all of my friends and family cheering and look forward as I take my next steps.
That's it. Why are we asking what I'm doing afterward? Aren't we supposed to be celebrating what I did during college for at least a minute? I changed. I came in as this enthusiastic freshman, excited to move into dorm life, and walk across that stage as a woman who has made an impact on this university.
Can't that be enough for the moment being?
Do you know what you'll be doing in a year? You might have some idea, but none of us really have the sure fire knowledge to answer that question precisely, it's a stupid question! Plans change.
If you would have asked me four years ago my ~plan~ I would have given you some long, drawn-out sketch up of what my life would look like as a 22-year-old. It seemed completely doable, but life changes and that is really okay. I'm more than ecstatic for my future; I have a degree in my back pocket, a support system, and wonderful ambitions.
Life has a way of guiding you down a path, whether or not you were planning to take the one adjacent to it or not. I've done my job in college of making that path a little bit clearer, and a whole lot more bright. Let's stop obsessing on the "year from now" and start looking at the baby steps that will make that "year from now" less daunting.
This is in no way a burn on anyone who does have their next steps in line, more power to you. I was only a little serious about the "setting the bar too high" thing. But to the people who think that the only way to get the "stamp of approval" is to have an internship, the job, or a masters program lined up- you're very wrong. That's just not realistic.
In plain and simple words: I have absolutely no idea what I am doing after graduation. However, I am very, very excited.