How To Answer The Dreaded 'What Are You Doing After College?' Question


As we approach the winter months, we are fully aware the holidays are near.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the holiday season.

But what I don’t love about the holiday season are the intrusive responses you always seem to get from your relatives after you tell them you’re an "XYZ" major.

Things like, “I heard the job market in that field is diminishing, you should come work for me,” or, “well, what do you plan on doing with that major?” can drive you insane.

Well, you know what, Aunt Susie? I’m going to figure this one out on my own this time.

Thank you very much.

Don’t get me wrong; I have followed all the rules college has thrown at me.

I went to class, worked, got an internship, did extra-credit assignments and joined multiple clubs because I liked to dive into my next project, even though I wasn’t always sure what my end goal was.

I had everything planned out in my head. I was going to only apply to certain organizations, and I only wanted to work in certain types of positions.

I will be the next Olivia Pope.

Or will I?

Maybe not.

Regardless of my Olivia Pope ambitions, I am still unable to answer the question, “What do you want to do with that major?”

To me, that’s okay.

Do I have an idea of where I want to work? Sure.

But that’s bound to change as fast as I can say, “Medium vanilla latte, please.”

Your goals should be forever changing.

Don’t become too comfortable applying to one entry-level job once you’re done with college because odds are, you’re not going to land the first job you apply for.

A lot of us have a dream of working for a certain organization, but the fact is, you are probably going to have to accept many positions before you become the CEO of your own public relations firm (for example).

So, get out there and meet people. Network your way to new opportunities.

A wise mentor once told me, “Always take the coffee date and always take notes.”

I couldn’t agree more.

You’re not going to land a job by sitting on your butt and telling Aunt Susie, “Well, my dream job is to be happy.”

Sure, that’s a great goal.

When Beyoncé was asked, “What is your aspiration in life?” she also responded, “To be happy.”

Am I downplaying Queen B’s advice? I would never.

But please keep in mind you should always challenge yourself to seek new opportunities in life, instead of settling in your parents' basement and telling yourself, “Hey, I’m pretty happy right here.”

You should know you are never too good to shake someone’s hand.

Learn how to properly shake someone’s hand and give him or her a smile.

A smile goes a long way, as does a follow-up thank you.

Since when did people stop saying thank you? If you hand-write a thank-you note, it will put you above the rest.

I promise.

Along with that handwritten note, thanking a professional for taking the time out of his or her day to help a needy college student like yourself, be sure to return the favor to someone in the future.

A little common courtesy goes a long way in our digitally-enhanced world.

So, this one goes out to Aunt Susie: I might not know exactly where I will end up after college.

But that’s perfectly fine with me.