You Know My Name, Not My Story...


The question “So, what are your plans after you graduate?” could very well be right up there in the list of World’s Worst Questions. Strongly followed by “I’m sorry, the frozen coke machine isn’t working at the moment, would you like anything else?” It’s the ultimate deal breaker that has me stuffing my face with even more chocolate fudge cake, just to buy me some thinking time.

You know what, actually now that I think of it, it’s always the crowd that you don’t see too often who ask you this question; perhaps it’s a conversation starter (wrong move buddy), or maybe they’re curious. Either way, it sends shivers down my spine. I’m not sure about you, but it’s always the older crowd (as in your aunties, your parent’s friends or that random stranger at your family party who’s trying to mingle) who grew up at a different time. A time where, education was extremely important, and finding a job straight after graduation is a right of passage. 

When your mate offers to shout you lunch and asks what you want, or, when someone asks about your plans after uni...
What's harder?
Sure, I get it, and I’m pretty sure most students get it too. Finding a job is important, but it shouldn’t be the most important thing in the world, especially for graduates and students like us. If someone were to answer with “Oh, not too sure, perhaps just travel”, it shouldn’t be followed with “and then what?”. We’re in our early 20s, and we’re still trying to find our own feet. We’re off into a world where we no longer have to deal with assignments for the first time in 16 years, where we won’t have to attend compulsory 2pm lectures - where we won’t have a routine or a course outline to tell us what to expect for the next few weeks. And that’s okay. 

That’s what I hate about planning. It means you’re not ready for the unexpected, it means certainty, it means expectations and it means that I’m opening myself up for disappointment if I’m not where I want to be when I turn 25. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s good to set yourself goals, but these goals don’t have to be made to impress other people. 

In reality, we’re entering a world where employment positions are extremely competitive. And sometimes, if we are employed we’re forced to try our hardest to impress our colleagues, our family and our friends. Whenever I talk about post-graduation ‘plans’ with my friends, I get mixed responses. Some of them are like me, and are just keen to get out there and start working. Whilst some are curious about what else is out there, which I truly admire.

I guess it all just comes down to how the world is a different place now, than it was 20 years ago. There’s more opportunities out there and more places to see. I guess that’s what I’m trying to get across, that it should be okay to say you’re going to take a breather, travel the world and bounce in between jobs because you’re young, you’re fresh out of uni and um, YOU CAN. As they say, you learn more about yourself when you least expect it.


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