When you’re a student who is about to graduate, you will face several types of questions. Such as: will you have to vacate your room soon? Will you stay in Rotterdam? Do you wish to go abroad for a while?
The question that has been on my mind a lot lately is, do I know yet what I wish to do after graduation? Until very recently, I was able to avoid having to answer this question – for instance, by getting a second Master’s degree, and by taking additional subjects at another university. But now I’m really about to leave uni, and I’m increasingly having difficulty avoiding answering the question. I am now being forced to genuinely reflect on what I wish to do in the future. In which direction will I be heading? Will that be the right path for me? Will I be able to find my perfect job? Or, for that matter, do I even know what my perfect job actually is?
When I was young, I knew the answer to the latter question without even having to think about it. I wanted to be a mermaid. Unfortunately, the psychology and media courses I have taken have not really prepared me for the job of being a mermaid.
However, since then, I have not been able to come up with an alternative to leading an under-water life (well, not a fun one, anyway). This is also because choosing which path to take feels like a highly definitive decision – the kind of decision that precludes you from following any other paths.
However, Isabelle, who was a good friend of mine at secondary school, proved that this is not necessarily the case. One day she decided to quit the job she had accepted immediately after graduating. It wasn’t making her happy, so she and her boyfriend decided to make their dreams come true and travel the world together. Her Instagram account now presents the most gorgeous places in the world. One month she can be seen exploring a rainforest in Singapore, while the next month she will be captured walking the Great Wall of China. She is now a so-called social media influencer and gets paid to visit hot spots.
What I like about Isabelle’s story is that she wasn’t entirely sure what to do after graduation, either. She just accepted a job somewhere, and when she realised it wasn’t making her happy, she chose to do something else instead. Which is to say: whatever job you accept after graduating does not have to be your forever job. You are free to change tack if you wish.
Even so, I will refrain from answering my own question about my future for now. Instead, I will focus on completing my thesis. Once that is done, I will finally make up my mind and get started in a new job.
And if the job does not make me happy, I may become a mermaid, after all.
Pooja Guptar is taking a Master’s degree in Media and Business