Thoughts from a Senior in College… What’s Next?

I’m a senior in college and like every other senior in the world, I get this question at least once a week: What do you want to do after you graduate? I get it from my family members, peers, bosses, and everyone in between. I wish that I had a good answer for them, but all I do is shrug and say, “I don’t know yet.” 

Admitting that I don’t have a plan is terrifying. It feels like I’ve failed at something, even though none of my friends have a job lined up either. Every time I say it out loud, it reminds me how much I still have to figure out. In just a few short months, I’ll be walking across the stage at graduation, and as caps fall down all around us, so will the reality of the situation. It’s time to do something with your life. What will it be? Even just thinking about this daunting task is a great way to suck the wind from my sails. 

However, in these past few weeks, I’ve begun to embrace this stage in my life, this transitional period where I honestly have NO idea what’s ahead of me. Whether you’re graduating high school or college, changing jobs, or moving cities, a new start has so much potential. That is how I stay motivated during this period of not knowing what’s next — I focus on the possibilities and let them excite me instead of focusing on what I don’t know and letting it scare me. I don’t know what job I will get, what city I will move to, or who I will live with. I don’t even know how to make food other than pasta. But that means I have the freedom to do ANYTHING I want, and that excites me more than anything. Also the fact that I’ll never have to do homework again. 

Sometimes I get in my own head and begin to worry that I am not good enough to ever get a job that I love. I’ve been a student my whole life, and I’m really good at it. What if I can’t do anything else? The best advice I can give here is to rely on your support system and the women around you. I know this from personal experience. One evening, I was sitting with my two friends Haley and Emma as we all shared our concerns about life after college. I’ll be honest — morale was low that night. The troops were exhausted. Would it all be worth it in the end? Eventually, Haley couldn’t take it anymore, so she said, “I know what will help.” We went around in a circle and told each other what we believed their greatest strengths were and what we like about them. This evening once filled with worries suddenly turned into an evening of positivity and encouragement. To see yourself, just for a moment, from someone else’s perspective is a great reminder that I am WORTHY and I am GOOD at what I do. Trust in yourself and all your hard work. 

Just a warning: I am NOT the person to tell you how to figure out what to do with your life. I am barely 21 years old and am not qualified to be giving life advice. But I do know a thing or two about living in a moment when you are unsure. Maybe you have a lot of choices and don’t know what to pick. Maybe all the doors look closed right now and you are waiting for one to open. I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself to figure it out or force something to happen. I am just taking it one day at a time, knowing that the first job I get out of college doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes it is just about finding that next puzzle piece, even if you don’t know the whole picture yet. 

If you’re a member of the DTC confidence coaching community, you may have heard this idea before. Rachel talks a lot about finding one thing to do each week to help you feel more confident and prepared about where you are and where you’re going. So what step are YOU going to take this week? What is your puzzle piece? Maybe you will join the DTC COMMUNITY, or start a new project, or do that thing that always scared you. 

Or maybe the best thing you can do is to encourage the women around you, even in the midst of the unknown. 

who is the author, April?

April Hooper is a public relations student at Messiah University, minoring in marketing and gender studies. She always has a coffee in hand and is rocking a thrifted outfit with handmade accessories. When she graduates, she dreams of living abroad, owning as many cats as possible, and writing for a living. 

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