College senior seeks life-after-college plan

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2002

I don't have a plan.

And, for someone like me, who gets inordinate amounts of pleasure from making lists and then crossing items off said lists, this is a big problem.

As I prepare to embark on the final year of my undergraduate education, I find that I have no answer to the inevitable question, "So, you're a senior this year, eh? What are you going to do when you graduate?"

Not only do I not have an answer, I have run out of witty retorts and side-stepping responses that evade the question without admitting to myself or anyone else, that no, I really don't have a plan.

I don't know what I want to do or where I want to go, but somehow, with graduation leering at me from nine months into my future, I am more uncomfortable with my indecision than I have ever been before.

For me, college was the obvious step in the natural progression of things. Go to school, take the SATs, fill out applications, send in the acceptance letter, pack my room, go to college.

However, it only recently has occurred to me that there is no such natural step after graduation from college. I suppose, to procrastinate on my future for a while longer, I could go to graduate school. I have no idea what I would study. But, at least I could postpone reality a little bit more.

This idea, though, is stalled a bit by the fact that in order to get into graduate school, I would first need to take the GREs. Not a problem, you might say. I went to class, most of the time at least. I should be prepared for a measly little graduate entrance exam.

The dilemma, however, becomes clear when I admit, that in four years of college I will have successfully managed to take more than a full course load every semester without taking a single math or math-related class.

Now, although this is a feat I am actually quite proud of, I don't foresee my math-eluding skills reflecting very well in the final scoring of my GREs.

So, you begin to understand.

But, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that I buy one of those snazzy Kaplan GRE study compact discs and

manage to beef up my knowledge of Pythagoras' theorem, there remains the dilemma of what I would actually study.

So, my tendency is to rule out this idea and we are once again left at square one, ground zero -- without a plan.

There are a million of things I would love to do, thousands of places I would love to visit. However, the tricky part is finding a way to pay rent and do these things at the same time.

That is the really scary part. Now, I know the majority of readers out there are going to read this and think, "Big deal, kid, we've all been there, done that. This is just how the cookie crumbles."

But, I think there are others out there, like me, soon-to-be graduates, who rival me in the planless department.

They, too, are grasping for any wisp of a hint that it is OK to move back in with mommy and daddy and spend their days watching "Real World Chicago" reruns on MTV. You just wouldn't know it, because most of the time we are quite talented at exuding a facade of collected, plan-having behavior.

Generally, I don't admit, even to myself, that I don't have a clue. Especially, because I don't want people to pat me on the head, with an oh-isn't-she-so-cute-acting-all-grown-up grin.

Basically, I want to have my cake and eat it, too. I want to conquer the world without making any of the decisions necessary to get me there. I want to someone to pick me up and place me five years into the future, my future, a fabulous future with everything I've always dreamed of doing, seeing and having.

Where I panic is when I have to actually figure out how to get to said point.

So, what I am saying is -- growing up sucks.

Carly Bossert spent her summer as a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. She has returned for her senior year at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She does have a plan to graduate in May 2003.

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