It is a sensitive time in the life of a youth whose life outside of school is just about to start. Be patient with us, all of you employed readers and inquisitive parents. I would exercise caution, if I were you, when asking a recent grad what they plan to do with themselves. Never forget that this is pretty much the only thing they think about all day long. It would be kinder to distract them from this plaguing question, instead of asking it of them again. I realize of course that curiosity may get the better of you. I too have let the question slip with friends I haven’t seen in a while. But the reaction is usually the same: either the person knows exactly what they are doing and are tired of telling people, or fire flashes across the ex-student’s eyes lighting up a combination of anxiety, excitement, and frustration. In the latter case, the poor youth struggles to quell the turmoil before stumbling over one or two responses chosen from a list of rehearsed answers, developed just in case such anxious moments should occur. Askers, be prepared for ambiguity, embellishment, nervous humor and/or snarkiness. Here are some responses you might get:
Q. So, what do you plan to do with your life?
A. What have you done with your life?
Q. So, do you know what you are going to do now?
A. You’ll know when I know!
Q. What are you up to these days?
A. Oh, you know, the usual.
Q. What are your plans now?
A. World Domination.
Q. What do you do all day?
A. Precisely what I want. (Texttwist rocks!)
Q: Are you planning on going to grad school?
A: Hell no! Do you know what I just went through? I’m tired, leave me alone.
Q. Are you looking for jobs?
A. Sure. Got any for me?
Q. Are you currently working?
A. I’m freelance writing. (Sure you are.)
Q. Are you currently employed?
A. I am self employed. (I pay myself with chocolate cake)
Q. Congratulations on graduating! So what are you doing now?
A. Well, I had a temporary job co-coordinating a conference back on campus in Chicago, but it ended just before Christmas. My father has hired me to do some refurbishments around the house as he is considering selling it after my sister graduates from high school. I am also planning a trip to South East Asia, I’m applying for jobs, and we’ll see what happens! (This is actually what I’ve been doing. Sounds good, but it’s slow going.)