“So what are you doing now?”
That is my most dreaded question these days. See, I just finished university in December, and am now the proud holder of a Bachelor or Arts degree, majoring in English. Which, it turns out, after four and a half years of sleep-deprivation, malnutrition, back problems, seemingly endless reading and writing, and extremely unhealthy amounts of stress, leaves me with slim job prospects and virtually no applicable life skills.
When I was first beginning university, people constantly told me just to “take what you love.” I followed this advice flawlessly, taking English classes and shopping around for a minor, finally settling on Women’s and Gender Studies. What I didn’t realize until far too late, however, is that this advice is actually terrible. Shockingly, things have not magically fallen into place, as I assumed they would, upon reaching graduation. Instead, I’m faced with the reality that my degree is mostly useless, and that I’m almost certainly going to have to go back to school or resign myself to an underwhelming job I don’t enjoy.
So, the aforementioned question is probably the least welcome in the world for me right now. Although, I’ve found it’s been easier since I’ve finally stopped trying to pass off whatever half-baked idea is currently rolling through my head as a viable plan that I’m excited about, and just started straight-up telling people: “I’m actually not doing anything. Nope, I have no specific plans. Yes, that does in fact bother me a little bit, but I sort of can’t care anymore right now.” Because the fact is I’m exhausted after stressing for months and months about what the hell I’m going to do with my life. The fact is I just don’t know right now. And I’m sort of becoming okay with that.
And, as I admit this to friends, family, acquaintances and even near-strangers, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a number of lovely responses of people sharing their own former post-grad confusion with me. Or not even post-grad, necessarily, but any time in life when you don’t know where you’re going or even where you want to go; all you know is you have to go somewhere, soon. Hearing from some well-established people who have their lives together that they’ve gone through the same thing I have; that periods of uncertainty and ambiguity are normal, and can be a good thing; that it can be a long and winding road to get there.
I don’t know where “there” is. But I think, somehow, I’m on my way.