What are you going to do after you graduate?

What are you going to do after you graduate?

Oct 6
Sara Tondini, Animal Sciences graduate student

"What are you going to do after you graduate?" The question I have a nice, well thought out, fake answer for, and the real answer only my Dad, my best friend, and my dog know. Well, and soon you will too. As a freshman, if you didn't know what you wanted to do you were told, “Don’t worry! You have four years to figure it out." Well, it's year four now and I'm nervously dodging this question every day because I HAVEN’T FIGURED IT OUT. In the midst of my anxiousness, I have found some answers/tips/thoughts for those of you in the same boat as me. Hopefully they help you out as well, and we can all adult together.

1. Breathe: You made it this far. You are smart and resourceful and whatever may come next in your life, you might not be ready for, but you will undoubtedly learn and grow from.

2. Narrow it down:  What are some classes you really enjoyed or didn't enjoy? Is there a specific job or internship that really sparked your interest? A certain company that you really liked or a professor you connected with? Write it all out and narrow it down to a couple of interests, companies, professors, ideas. Research this stuff on your own and sit with it in your thoughts for a while. It could lead to new paths you haven’t thought of before.

3. Ask all the questions: Find someone in the field you're interested in and shoot them an email. Talk to some of the companies about having a tour of their facilities or find employees willing to talk about their experiences. Go meet with your advisor/professor. They've been on this journey with you and they know how you work and what you're good and not good at. Tell them what you like to do and they'll have plenty of resources and guidance for you.

4. Seize the opportunities: I've found that the reason I don't know what I want to do yet, is because I have all these options and I haven't grabbed any of them. My toes are in the water of a lot of different ponds and I really just need to jump at this point. You may love where you end up and want to wade around or you may want to immediately get back on dry land, but if you don't jump you will never know. No one is making you do anything at this point. The choice is truly yours, and although it may sound frightening, it's so very freeing. You can choose again and again and again till something feels right and there’s no wrong way of doing it.

So I think we have a lot more than four years to "figure it out." We have the rest of our lives to figure it out and even then I don't know if that's enough time. But I'm sure I will do things I love and things I don't love and I'll experience more than I can imagine. You will too! We got this.

Dept of Animal Sciences seniors sign