Graduation is quickly approaching and there's nothing you can do about it: You can't run and you almost certainly can't hide.
Before you try on that cap and gown, let us think of the constant questioning you've received — from parents, professors, peers and strangers — throughout this entire year, revolving around that scary concept known as “The Future” and well, you.
Interrogated on a daily basis by family members who are eager to hear about your next steps after you graduate? Can’t escape the constant questioning by those who, for some reason, are just way too intrigued about your future?
Does the phrase, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" send you collapsing with fear into the fetal position? Have you desperately created lists with possible answers to questions that begin, "After you graduate..."?
Well, fear not! If you’re sick of your repetitive answers and are looking for some creativity in your reply, you’ve come to the right place. Instead of stammering out some laughable response or feigning a coughing fit, here are some ideas for how to best respond:
1. I’m taking some time off…
...to teach English in South Korea, to take some pottery classes, to return to my roots. However you want to finish that sentence, the choice is yours! Be sure to get creative and remember, the stranger, the better.
How far is this person willing to question you? How far is this person willing to enter the intricate dance of fantasy? The goal is to amuse yourself while retaining the attention of the other person after all, so be sure to open the wide expanse known as your imagination.
2. I have a job!
If you actually do have a job, I congratulate you (as well as feel confused as to why you clicked this article).
If you actually don’t have a job, pretending you do is a surefire way to alleviate the potential awkwardness that will result when whomever is doing the asking finds out you’re still having a bit of trouble getting your act together, by his or her standards.
Maybe you don’t even have to pretend. You have a job, as a graduated student, to find a job! You have a job, as a citizen, to become a productive member of society and contribute something to the people of the world.
See? You have so many jobs! After confirming that yes, you do have a job, remember that ambiguity is your dear friend.
When asked where exactly your job is, gaze into the distance with a soft smile, inhale deeply and say, “It’s all around me, this job. It’s everywhere and nowhere. It’s a job, so near and dear to me, that sometimes, I fancy that its headquarters are located in the depths of my soul.” Easy-peasy.
3. I’d rather not say.
Perhaps you’re a very private person. In this age of over-sharing, keeping a few secrets to yourself is a rare quality, but you’re not like the other kids; you’re special! So, why tell whoever’s asking?
They couldn’t possibly comprehend the upcoming chapter of your journey to personal growth and development. However, such a mysterious answer only leads to the increase in curiosity and questioning. So, be sure to hold your ground.
4. I’ll let the universe, in all its infinite knowledge, decide that one.
Ah, my personal favorite. You have a long life ahead of you, this statement declares. What is the rush? There’s no need to boast or brag about the next qualification you’ve gained. Let’s just see what happens.
Note: Prepare for shocked looks and statements such as, “Are you kidding?” Such trivialities do not deserve to be addressed.
5. I don’t know.
Ah, honesty. Always the bold choice, this quick response is a simple solution for avoiding the typical route of a long, drawn out conversation — laced, of course, with awkward undertones — that leaves both you and the asker tired and slightly perturbed.
If you truly don’t know what your plans are for after graduation, saying so is quite the experience. You might hear a reaction like, “My god, a student who hasn’t planned out their next five years? A student without any lined up concrete jobs or internships? So, you do exist!”
Why not be straightforward, right? It’s easier than coming up with an intricate lie that ultimately leaves you feeling dissatisfied after the conversation.
So, chin up! Look this person in the eyes, dare him or her to break away from your intense stare. And, well, tell the truth.