Viewpoint: Post-college plans fuzzy, but life will sort itself out

By Taylor Rexrode

After you graduate high school, everyone wants to know about your life at college.

They ask about the friends you have made and the organizations you have joined.

They ask if you go to football games or, particularly for Baylor, if you ever got to meet Robert Griffin III or Brittney Griner while they were students.
Typical stuff.

But without fail, when you go home and see them — distant family members, people from church, old teachers or next-door neighbors — they all manage to ask the same two questions: What’s your major again? So, what are you going to do with that?

As a senior, I’ve had plenty of experience answering these questions. For the better part of three years, I’ve been able to answer that I’m a journalism major (though it used to be medical humanities, pre-med before I bombed the first biology class).

I have told some people that I’m planning on finding a job in the magazine or newspaper industry.

For people I know are more concerned with financial security, I have said I’m looking at public relations or law school.

I have told my old high school teachers I’m thinking about education.

I’ve said a lot of things that really culminate into nothing. But the truth is I don’t know what I’m doing when I graduate, and it’s really OK.

I consider this simple fact to be the most valuable information I could learn at Baylor, and it’s something many students have a hard time understanding.

We are often told as freshmen we don’t need to know what we’re doing yet but that we need to at least have an idea when sophomore or junior year rolls around. By senior year, we should have it figured out and have interviews lined up.

But that’s not how it was for me. Junior year, I wanted to forget about journalism and become first a lawyer, then a public relation specialist, then a teacher, then a school psychologist.

Now I’m applying to graduate schools across the country for creative writing, knowing I may not get in this first year.

If my plans are this muddled, who’s to say other students on campus aren’t going through the same thing?

When I think about my future, I think of a scene from “Eat, Pray, Love” where the main character Liz is having dinner with people in Rome during her year of self-exploration.

They are all characterizing places with a single word, like “stuffy” for London and “ambition” for New York.

Liz gives herself the word “writer,” but her friends are quick to point out that “writer” is what she does, but it’s not who she is.

I don’t mean to say that knowing what you want to do for a profession is without merit.

If you have known you want to be a doctor since you were a child, then great.

But don’t let that title define you. And if you don’t know what you want to be, don’t let the nothingness define you either.

Find meaning in who you are right now and let life happen.

So when I get that same question about my future in the months leading up to graduation, I won’t say I’ll be a journalist or a lawyer or a teacher.

Instead I’ll say, “I’ll let you know when I get there.”

Taylor Rexrode is a senior journalism major from Forney. She is a copy editor for the Lariat.