Life is unexpected: It’s OK to not have a plan

Gwen Henry | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

What are your plans after graduation? Where are you interning this summer? What’s your major — and what are you planning to do with that? What else are you getting involved in?

Questions about our future plans seem to be never-ending, and it’s exhausting. From incoming freshmen to outgoing seniors, there is so much pressure to have it all figured out.

For freshmen, it might be questions about majors, potential minors or a change in degree plans. For sophomores and juniors, there’s a looming responsibility and constant conversation surrounding finding a summer internship or joining a new organization to beef up their resumes. And, no surprises here, for seniors, it is the constant bombardment of post-graduation questions.

While these questions often come innocently from friends and family, the underlying stress they can cause is unfair. To the people asking the questions, please be mindful. It’s a great starting point to chat with someone, but chances are they have already been asked multiple times that week. Let them bring it up.

And it’s not just that. These subjects of conversation are common among our peers — at times in an unhealthy and competitive way.

Doom-scrolling on LinkedIn can be intimidating right about now, with an abundance of “I’m thrilled to announce …” posts. It might seem like you’re in the minority of friends or classmates who are posting about what graduate program or internship they got into, but to those who are anxious because they don’t have a solid plan for the next few years of life, you are not alone.

Taking a deep breath and being intentional about living in the present can be good first steps. Don’t let the stress of trying to make a future plan take away from your day-to-day college experience. Another good starting point is seeking out support and advice from your peers, professors or family.

In addition, Baylor offers help for students who may be struggling to figure things out. Major Exploration and Success Advising is a tool for students exploring different major options. The Student Involvement Center helps students join or create an organization they may be interested in. The Career Center also has multiple resources for job searches, alumni connections and more.

If you don’t have a job or summer internship — or if you haven’t even declared your major — it’s OK. If you have no idea what you want to do yet, that’s OK too. Where you start in college and directly after is just a stepping stone to where you’ll end up.

We’re only 18-22 years old. We have our entire lives ahead of us. Things will work out, even if they don’t work out exactly according to plan.