I don't know how it started or why it's even a thing, but college students feel so much pressure to know exactly what they're going to do with their lives once they graduate. By choosing a major and career path, a student has at least an idea of what they want their lives to look like. They can say with certainty fields and areas they really don't want to work in, even if they're not totally sure what they want to do.
Up until my senior year, I fully believed that college seniors had everything figured out. Somehow, someway, simply reaching senior year, especially graduation season, would just help you figure everything out. But as my senior year dwindled down and graduation got closer, I still felt lost. I knew the fields I was interested in and the kinds of jobs I wanted to apply to, but that was basically it.
Geographically, I didn't know where I wanted to be. Career end-goals, I didn't know where I wanted to go. I felt like there was something wrong with me for not knowing. It didn't help that many other seniors I knew, or even my junior year friends, can say in a cohesive, solid idea where they want to go. Location, company, career path, everything. It sucked knowing that I was reaching the end and couldn't be confident in any of those things.
Now, at the end of my senior year, I do have a better idea of these things. No, my current plan is not as amazing, extravagant, and detailed as other post-grad plans I've heard, which still plants doubts in my mind that I don't know what I'm doing. But what I do know is that it's OK to not have everything figured out right now. I'm 22, and the life expectancy for the American female is 79. If I live to that age, that's 57 years to "figure it out."
So, why do I have to know exactly how my life is going to go at the age of 22? The answer is that I don't.
There's always time to change, go somewhere else, and try something new. I cannot possibly plan for everything that's going to happen in my life. I don't have to know it all right now, because I know I'll figure it out along the way.
To the college student who doesn't have their life figured out, it's OK. You don't have to. You're certainly not the only one. Whether it happens immediately after graduation or it takes a few years, you will find your place.