By Erin Doherty
There have been a few changes in the months since I’ve graduated from UCSB. Ocean views are conspicuously absent from my bedroom window. Instead of living down the street from each other, my best friends and I have spread out over the country. I can sleep without my neighbor’s techno music blasting from the nearest balcony. Halloween in my neighborhood is no longer a weeklong debauchery, but a single night when kids run around the street on a sugar high and are ushered into bed by ten.
Among these changes comes the inevitable search for a job. As a college senior, there was one particular question I heard over and over again. What are your plans after graduation? It’s at times a necessary, expected, annoying, exciting and stressful question.
As a new UCSB alum, let me tell you what my friends and I have done in our post-grad lives. One spent his summer working at a kids camp. One is applying to medical school. Many are still unemployed (some by choice, loitering their way through summer). Another is working in sales. Two of my friends are working in research labs to get additional experience before applying to graduate school. Another is a vet tech. Some are finishing up classes. Me? I’m working a retail job to earn money while I hunt for a permanent position.
The point of this is not to personally update you on my friends’ lives, but to point out a simple basic truth. There is no right answer. And to be honest, I’ve changed my answer to that question so many times that it has become irrelevant. This is the first time there isn’t an exact formula we have to follow. The options are endless and all over the map. So stop worrying, breathe, and take a moment to ask yourself what it is you really want.
Here’s my advice. Take advantage of the resources surrounding you. Fine tune your resume. Figure out how to write an appropriate cover letter. Talk with your friends about your career aspirations. Take career assessments tests, or find a professional in a field you’re interested in and go interview them. Pick their brain and get their advice. If there is any club or organization you think you might be interesting, go check out a meeting. Even if you don’t figure everything out by early June, you will at least have some basic foundational tools to help you.
Above all seniors, enjoy your last year at UCSB. Go for hikes, enjoy Halloween in IV and take every opportunity to savor the beautiful environment around you. Embrace the limitless opportunities of your future. And as for that infamous question, what are your plans after graduation? Don’t worry, you WILL figure it out.