It’s the most common question asked of recent graduates: “Now what?” It’s a reasonable question and it looks like this: “Are you getting a job?” or “Are you moving up to the next degree level?” Or my favorite, “Are you finally moving out of your parents’ basement?”
Having recently graduated myself after an extremely long hiatus between high school and college commencements, I too have been asked these questions. Apparently context and an obviously advanced age have no bearing on these queries. They simply must be asked.
Maybe you’re not sure exactly what you’ll do. It’s okay. You just got here. Your diploma is still warm, for crying out loud. You’ve got some time. Have a seat. Enjoy your moment.
But it’s also good to have an answer ready. These people are just making conversation and in most cases, do actually care. Let me recommend some solid, concise answers to satisfy the curious loved ones, but are just vague enough without lying.
1. “I’m keeping my options open.”
Easy, right? It’s true and it’s fine. But beware, the person may conclude, “Okay, he/she doesn’t have a clue.” That’s fine, too. You can’t be responsible for their misinterpretation.
2. “I’m looking at some colleges.”
Of course. Look, we’re all looking at colleges. They’re everywhere. They’re on the way to work. They’re on TV. Especially in sports. They’re easy to find.
3. “I’m currently working on a five-year plan involving higher learning, short-term goals, and long-range income projections to fulfill my financial aspirations.”
If they ask for details, a quick comeback:
“I’d like to tell you but I’d have to kill you.”