When People Ask Me What I'm Doing After Graduation This is What I'll Say
By Fiona Shea
So, I don’t have a job lined up for after graduation. I’m also not volunteering with the JVC or Americorps like some of my friends who enjoy helping people. I don’t have an internship, and I’m not travelling anywhere. I actually have no idea what I want to do? Like as a career, but also … in life? So I’ve decided to construct an honest answer to provide to anyone who asks me what I’m doing after graduation. If you, too, do not have a “plan” for post-grad, you are welcome to join me in the glorious city of Hartford, Connecticut, where these 5 post-grad steps will be carried out.
Step 1: Watch Game of Thrones.
Never having seen Game of Thrones makes me feel almost as shitty as never having seen any of the Harry Potter movies (never mind never having read the books). This is the first time I’m admitting that. I usually just play along like,
“I would be in Gryffindor, no doubt. My favorite spell is Leviosa. JK Rowling is honestly a legend.”
I’m embarrassed to confess how uncultured I am. But, with GoT, it’s way too complicated. You can’t just skim the surface like,
“Winter is coming. Jon Snow is my favorite character. Yeah, I’m not bothered by the incest either.”
I’m going to take the first three weeks immediately after graduation to binge GoT and get caught up to speed for the sake of the culture. And also for my own mental health because I’ve been feeling excluded and anxious every time Khaleesi is brought up around me. She sounds like a legend, almost more so than JK Rowling.
Step 2: Exercise lightly.
After the three weeks of binging Game of Thrones I’ll probably try and get my body looking right. No one tells you that going to Punta Cana for spring break turns you into a drinking-machine-party-fiend. The all-inclusive trip destroys all tendencies of eating vegetables and run-walking on the treadmill. For the latter portion of senior year all I’ve known, and all I’ve wanted to know, are Miami Vices (pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris mixed for the ignorant lames), permanent sunburns and foggy conversations with the same people over and over again. So, with that, health and fitness has plummeted drastically on the list of priorities. Before entering the “real world” I’ll need to burn off all the fried chicken I swallowed whole while floating around in the Punta Cana resort pool. Step 2 is necessary in order to bury that part of the identity and embrace a classier manifestation of self.
Step 3: My high school friends and I become so bored that we go get frozen yogurt and have a really awkward encounter with someone random from our past.
Step 3 can be weaseled in at any point in the post-grad plan. Preferably I will complete step 3 multiple times, almost on a weekly basis. I envision a lot of days playing out like this:
11:00AM: Wake up.
12:10PM: Mom is getting home, so I quickly stage a job application workshop in the kitchen.
12:30PM: Mom really wants me to try harder at applying for jobs, I tell her I will.
12:45PM - 4:20PM: *Insert step 1 or step 2 here, depending on what level you’ve reached of the plan.* So this block of time can be filled with either culture binging, or getting the body right.
4:20PM: By this time culture = binged, or body = right. Both great outcomes. Send a text in the group chat, everyone’s down to hang, obv. No one has a job.
7:30PM: Not sure how those three hours were spent. Potentially was sucked into another k hole, but this time mind was completely erased.
8:25PM: Group unites at the friend’s house who has the most chill parents.
8:30PM - 9:50PM: Vaping, light gossip, and brief but intense Instagram k holes are accompanied by a random TV show playing in the background like Catfish or anything on TLC.
10:00PM: One friend suggests getting frozen yogurt. It’s the best idea she’s had in years.
10:15PM: Arrive at Sweet Frog dizzy off the vape. The smell inside is extremely nauseating. Someone might pass out in Sweet Frog.
10:16PM: Everyone fills up their cups with a mixture of flavors. One friend just gets a ton of those little balls with juice inside of them. She’s a psychopath.
10:19PM: I enter a frozen yogurt k hole. Halfway through the fro-yo I realize I do not like fro-yo. But then all of a sudden my cup is empty.
10:23PM: The awkward encounter the entire group has been anticipating finally happens. The middle school basketball coach enters Sweet Frog with his new girlfriend. He has no idea how old we are. He can’t even make a guess. He is intoxicated in Sweet Frog. He kisses us on the cheeks. His girlfriend is really pretty.
10:41PM: I leave Sweet Frog feeling awkward and sick. But it was something I had to do. And it’s something you have to do. It’s only right.
Step 4: Shock my parents’ friends when I say, “I have no idea what I want to do” in the Big Y parking lot.
After the Sweet Frog interactions, awkward encounters will be nothing but a thang. I expect them to spice up the depressing post-grad days, and will probably become a favored activity.
So when my Mom asks me to go to Big Y to get a watermelon (she likes to give me random tasks), I’ll be kind of excited to go.
When I see Mrs. Miller in the parking lot, I won’t pretend not to see her. She asks me what I’m up to, what my “plan” is, and when I tell her about binging GoT and going to Sweet Frog and working out every few days, her face grows concerned and I am hoping she talks about my excellent plan with the other moms. I just want to be talked about, honestly.
I help Mrs. Miller put her groceries in her minivan so she thinks I’m still a good person even if I have no ambition.
“Good luck, sweetie.”
She nods empathetically from her minivan window as I stand alone in my pajamas in the Big Y parking lot carrying a watermelon.
Step 5: Read a life-changing book at the town pool.
I haven’t read a book in years. Reflecting on my life, I may never have actually finished a full novel. What if I’m in a job interview and the interviewer asks me what my favorite book is? I need to have something truthful and profound to say. The Fault in Our Stars isn’t going to cut it. I could maybe swing saying that the Game of Thrones series is my favorite, because I’m pretty sure they were books before a TV show? But that feels like it’d be super transparent at this point.
I can’t go into an intellectual discussion with some alternative, experimental book all confident like, “Have you read The Girl with the Chastity Belt’s Lullaby? It’s my favorite.”
No, you need something absolutely classic like To Kill a Mockingbird or Don Quixote or Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll probably pick up War and Peace and call it a day. Been meaning to read that one. And then off to the pool I go.
I see myself spending a super relaxing time by the pool with my book. There are no annoying kids splashing around the day I decide to go and conquer my book. It’ll be closed off for academics on their sabbaticals just like me who want to peacefully read and feed their brains.
As I flip around War and Peace, I see a ton of pages, and a ton of words I don’t know. I suck at reading. I don’t know how to read. I can read the words, but the whole time my mind is thinking about potential boyfriends and potential parties and potential conversations. All which might never happen.
War and Peace spirals me into an anxiety k hole, which I think is actually just an anxiety attack, and I storm out of the pool without even buying french fries from the snack bar.
That’s as far as I’m going to make it into step 5.
And there we have it my friends. Graduating without a job isn’t that scary if you embrace my perfect five-step post-graduation plan. Because, believe me, once you do it all - once you’ve watched eight seasons of Game of Thrones, hit Sweet Frog a couple hundred times, toned a few muscles, run into lots of moms, and “read” War and Peace … you will be ready to hightail it back to NYC - and maybe even land a job.