Last weekend, I walked across the stage at Meyers Sports Complex, received my diploma, and switched my tassel from right to left. Pending a couple transfer classes and passing grades, I'm a college graduate now!
Now comes the deluge of questions: what am I doing next? Do I have plans for the summer? Why don't I have a nice boyfriend yet?
Here's a guide for those of you who don't know what comes next and for those of you who do:
1. "Where are you going to live?"
Sometimes people ask intrusive questions like this, so just give them a (mostly) straightforward answer. For example If you go back to live at home, just tell people you missed your family during college. This is usually true, so it's technically not a lie but is also definitely code for "I have no idea what I'm doing." If you end up living in an apartment, just say you're living on your own.
2. "What are you going to do with your degree?"
If you're going to graduate school, say you're furthering your education with a second degree. (Also, good for you. I hope you do well if you're going to grad school!) If you have a job lined up, that will stave off most of the other questions on this list.
If you're like me and your answer is a bit longer, (I'm going into a postgrad fellowship in August in Pittsburgh with a group of 35 other people), give them as few details as you need or want to. I usually just say "I'm going to a fellowship that will hopefully lead to a job," and that's usually good enough. I am happy to answer people who want to ask me more questions about it, though!
3. "Do you have a job yet?"
Just say yes or no, or "I'm on the lookout, so if you know of any connections, be sure to let me know!"
This is definitely the most annoying one and most anxiety-inducing, especially if you don't have a job lined up right after graduating. It doesn't mean you're worthless or a failure if you don't secure a job within months or even a year. If you have a job lined up, but you don't see yourself doing it as a career, it's okay to look for other things while you are working that current job.
4. "Do you have future plans with "x"? ;)"
Oh maaaaan. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate being asked this especially as a single woman! I went through all of college without a boyfriend and made it out just fine. (Kudos to those of you who do have boyfriends and made it out just fine too.) If you're in a relationship, from what some of my friends have told me, it can be really annoying to be asked if you're going to marry that person constantly or when the next step is. If you've been dating for only three months, you're not going to know if you're marrying them. It can be a possibility, of course, but both sides need to have the same intentions. When people try to rush someone else's relationship it can have unintended consequences.
There are a lot of other questions you will probably be asked at grad parties or other events, but this starter guide should help you out.