So, What are You Doing After Graduation?

I am rolling a dice.

Ahh, I am in that stage of my life when I can’t get my mind to figure out if I am excited for what is next or just simply stressed out. I applied to graduate a couple of weeks back and I just finished my last class registration. No doubt, it is starting to hit me that this is the end of student discounts for me (at least for a while). It’s been four months since my senior year started and my conversations with strangers at networking events and aunties from India are turning into figuring out what my plan is after graduation.

I find it a constant need to perfect my answer to this question but there are multiple hiccups in giving a simple answer. To top it, the fact that I am an international kid in a foreign land does not make it easier. Explaining the uncertainties with regard to getting a work visa sponsorship out of roughly 240,000 applicants each year makes things a notch more intense. It is one of those ‘no no’ topics with people who know nothing about your situation.

I remember during my high school graduation my school principal ended her speech with the idea that the “world is your oyster” and I think I am in the process of taking that in the literal sense. I am relieved that in four years of college I have at least come to realize the professional tracks I am attracted to but I couldn’t care less about which geographical location I end up working out of. Sure I have my preferences but the idea to move to a new place, again doesn’t scare me yet (credits to my parents for sending me 8000 miles away at the age of 17). So in relation, answering a question like “Do you plan to stay here or go back home?” is a bit more complex than it seems.

With time I had to accept that I can not afford to constrict myself to one idea and focus on just that since there are a lot of things out of my control. This has led me to account for multiple scenarios in actually making a ‘plan’.

So I decided that I am rolling a dice. I am planning for four different scenarios after graduation and I think I’ll give the universe two scenarios since it always tends to conspire. I am rolling the dice with the attitude that each of these scenarios has an equal opportunity to workout. This also implies that there will be an equal amount of effort from my end in making it work.

Thankfully I am not biased towards any of my plans so far although I do have my days. Thinking of graduation this way gives me the sense that I know what I am doing while grounding myself to accept multiple paths to reach one destination. The destination ironically being the starting point of a career.

As a college student I am part of a group of young individuals with a stereotypical trait of laziness. I also believe the lack of direction in making life decisions hinders our productive potential. In my current experience starting with an interest as vague as “ I love traveling” to something as specific as “I love predictive analytics for business” can help in bringing a direction to your job search.

The point is to start with something you know you like (because it is too early to detest anything). If psychological crap like this doesn’t gel well with you then I would highly recommend career publications like TheMuse or finding resources that trigger your inner motivation, in my case it is binge reading Wired and watching a range of unknown web series. Sometimes making things simpler than they actually are helps to overcome the feeling of ambiguity and start feeling positively motivated.

Whether you think of it as a calculated guess on a multiple choice paper or a chopped out version of your life for the next few years, it is still a plan so roll the dice!