And After University?

December 25, 2012 12:00 pm

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Recently I traveled up to the north of England to meet my boyfriend’s family for the first time—a nerve-racking and terrifying experience for anyone. However, I have to say, the experience turned out to be an eye opener; a real catalyst for self-evaluation. I was consistently asked, What do you do?, as is expected from intrigued family members, and I constantly replied, I am at University, to which the inevitable—and now dreaded—question is asked: So what do you plan to do after university?

For this question I have no answer. Sure, I have some ideas; well-meaning, interesting ideas, but plans? No, I have no concrete plans. However, I might add that this is not down to laziness or a lack of drive, as some may suggest. It is not even caused by the overwhelming paralysis spurred by the thought of no longer being a student with very little, or no responsibilities. All it comes down to is a want to try everything. I want to try every profession that even slightly interests me, because I don’t want to commit to something that isn’t right for me. After all, how can I know what I want to do for the rest of my life when I haven’t even tried it out? When I first went to university, I went with the mindset that I was going to be a teacher; a teacher that taught drama in a secondary school. Now I am in my third (and final) year of my studies, and I have absolutely no idea what I want to do and absolutely no desire to commit to any one profession—one day I want to be a journalist, the next a PR executive—and why shouldn’t I try my hand at either? Why do I have to decide what I want to do, just because my degree is coming to an end?

And yet, everyone wants to know; my parents, friends, even my university! I receive daily emails from the latter asking if I need help on my ‘next steps’ towards a career. For this question, I have an answer: No! No I do not need help with my ‘next steps’, because I do not know what these steps will be. But I WILL figure it all out, and I will figure it out in my own time. Obviously, it is scary going out in the big wide world not knowing what you’re going to do. But I’m not alone; after my experience meeting the in-laws, I have spoken to other students and it would appear that most students don’t know what they want to do. The majority is just looking forward to finishing their degrees, and almost all are apprehensive as to what will come next. But with apprehension comes excitement and promise. An excitement which would be perhaps lost if we already knew what we were going to do for the rest of our lives.

So, next time I am asked, what do you plan to do after university? I am not going to stress over my answer anymore. I am quite simply going to reply: I want to do everything and anything, and see what they have to say about that!

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