I’ve been a graduate now for about a month and the worst question in the world is, “So what are you doing after college?” I’ve heard this question at every family gathering since graduation, and I am positive I will continue to hear it all summer long. Sure I put in applications to grad schools, and sure I am still waiting to hear from one more, but until I hear back I’m in limbo. And for about 82% of graduates (made up statistic) our plans aren’t going as swimmingly as we hoped. Most recent grads didn’t land their dream job, or any job for that matter. Lots of us don’t know where it is we are going, and most are currently residing in our old bedrooms. For me it has felt like I have failed every time I answered this question. So if you, like me, have been floundering for an answer to this question, this list is for you:
1. Exaggerate your current position.“ I’m an assistant sales manager.” when you really mean “I work in retail.”
2. “I plan to explore my options.” Sounds fancy and like you have options even though you probably are as in the dark as the rest of us.
3. “I’m gonna finish this beer that’s what I’m gonna do.” I’ve used this, people laugh, then keep asking.
4. “I don’t know.” Anticlimactic, yet honest.
5. “Go for my masters.” This will probably have follow up questions, like where are you applying, and for what. If you don’t know right now make it up.
6. “I’m taking a gap year.” Another answer that sounds like you have your shit together, but it really means you got denied from your grad programs and have to reapply in the fall.
7. “I’m gonna get some real world experience before I continue my education.” Again you didn’t get into your grad program, but at least you have a plan.
8. “I’m gonna go travel, really find myself.” I envy you.
9. “Live with my parents, save some money.” Responsible yet anticlimactic.
10. “I’m going to move out to California then play it by ear.” Sounds like a lot of nights with Ramen noodles in your future.
11. “Volunteer abroad for a little bit.” Again I envy you. This answer will have a mixed results: people will either say why don’t you volunteer here, or they will be proud of you.
12. “I’m currently applying to jobs.” It really means you have applied everywhere, even to jobs that aren’t exactly what you want, even jobs you aren’t qualified for, you’ll take what you can get at this point.
13. “I actually start my job next month.” You actually don’t have a job yet, but you’re hoping in a month you’ll be employed. It’s a risky yet solid answer.
14. “I’m still waiting to hear back from some places.” You’ve applied to everything and are sure there are no more jobs left to apply to, now you are waiting and crossing your fingers and toes.
15. “Just hang out for a bit.” This is one of my favorites, it throws people off. The reality is that until I get a real job that is exactly what I’m doing.
16. “Well right now I have an internship with (fill in the blank) but I’m hoping it will turn into a full time position in the fall.” I’m pulling for you, I really am.
17. “Nothing. I have no plan.” Then start crying hysterically- no one will ask you again. This might be the best answer.
18. “I’ve been working on my writing and submitting it to various places.”
19. “Praying every night that I finally get a job.”
20. “Brushing up on my Jeopardy trivia.” When you say this don’t laugh, be as serious as possible.
21. “I’m going to start my own business, be my own boss.” This sounds impressive, but if you say this I guarantee there will be follow up questions, and I don’t have answers for those.
22. “I’m going back to my old job while I’m applying.” When you say this one don’t sound so defeated. At least you have an income.
23. “My old room in my parents house is calling my name.”
24. “I’m going to be a blogger. I already have a blog, and it doesn’t really get a lot of hits, but I didn’t have the time in college to really work on it the way I wanted to.” Good luck explaining this to your grandmother.
25. “I’m going to watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother, twice.” Ambitious.
26. “I’ve been submitting articles for Thought Catalog and Buzzfeed everyday.” Again good luck explaining these to your grandparents.
27. Be honest, no matter how grim.
28. Or lie. Make up some fake position and only tell those who can’t research it.