Planning Not to Plan

As a college student you get sick of hearing the age-old question:

“What are your plans for after you graduate?”

And after answering this question an uncountable number of times over the years, sick is actually an understatement.

Most people that ask expect us to have an answer even before we’ve even stepped foot in our first college course and also expect that same answer when we step out of our last one. I can tell you as a college senior that as good as it is to have a plan, it can be just as good not to have one. Above that, it is totally fine not to have one.

This is not to say that having a plan isn’t helpful or sometimes important to certain scenarios. But the pressure of getting a job right out of school, getting a job in your field of study, or knowing exactly what you want to accomplish can hold much less power over you. How many people do you know have a job in a completely different field from what they studied are satisfied where they ended up? How many stories have you heard of students that get jobs right out of school and end up hating them? 

There is a give and take here but, in my experience, letting go of certain stressors where you can will only help you to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. A job right out of school in your field of studied doesn’t have to be one of them. So, the next time someone asks about your after-school plans, remember it is okay if:

  • You want to pick-up part-time jobs for awhile
  • You don’t have a plan
  • You want to work a random job just to save enough to travel
  • You want to accept the first job offer you get
  • You want to turn down the first job offer you get
  • You want to go back to school
  • You are just excited to graduate

No matter how many times you may be asked, and how many times your answer changes, there is nothing wrong with changing your path. I think that because this pressure is all around, it can be hard to make decisions that benefit us. For example, you are two years into a biology degree when you decide your heart isn’t in it. The choice to switch career paths takes longer than it should because there is a fear surrounding realizing that what you had originally planned is not the plan anymore. Or perhaps you figure out that you have no idea what you want to do. The fear is there because you know how many times you’ll be asked about it and feel like you don’t have an answer.

It is okay not to have an answer.

It is okay if your plan is not to have a plan.

It is okay if you just don’t know.

When preparing for your next interview, or searching for jobs as a senior in college, remember that it is never too late to change your mind, make a change, turn down a job, or accept one. The only path that matters is the one that you make for yourself!

Written by: Hannah Seltzer

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