Bird’s-eye View

An Opinions Q&A Column Exploring Curiosities

Graphic by Mary Kroeck

Graphic by Mary Kroeck

Q: Everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do after graduation. The truth is I don’t know. I want to be able to say something smart since I’m getting my degree. I don’t know what to say though since I’m still looking for a job I’d feel really happy in and have a lot of worry about paying my student loans. Any advice?


Lost for Words

Dear Lost for Words,

It’s okay to not have an answer to that question.

That question can generate the same kind of feeling that happens when people ask you why you’re single, not married yet or not doing any of the other conventional things people of a certain age tend to do. If I was honest, I could have answered those questions by saying, “It’s absolutely none of your business,” or “My worth is not defined by my relationship status” or “I’m not with someone because it’s scientifically proven that boys mature more slowly than girls and I haven’t found someone who can keep up with me yet.” They probably would have looked at me like I was crazy.

To avoid confrontation, I started to go with “I’m too busy for a relationship,” which wasn’t a total lie, but the truth was I make time for the things I care about and for a long time dating wasn’t something I cared about a whole lot.

You can spend a lot of time coming up with an answer to your query. You can think of a succinct one-liner like “I’m going to be working for (insert your dream company here).” When they press you about what you’ll be doing tell them exactly what you want to be doing. Just because you don’t have an offer from your dream company yet doesn’t mean you won’t in the future, so you’re not actually lying. You could also be as funny as you want and say, “I’m going to take over the world!” a la “Pinky and the Brain.” Hey, if Donald Trump can try to do it, why can’t you?

Words have power. There really is something to the old mantra of fake it until you make it. If you don’t know what you at least want to be doing, it makes it a whole lot harder to get there. Spend some time thinking about your real goals and what you really want post-graduation. The more you do that, the easier that answer will be.

Q: Does anyone actually read this column?


A Curious Editor

Dear Curious Editor,

I hope the answer is yes. Of course, I don’t actually know if that is the right answer. However, for the sake of all the trees that died to make the paper this column is printed on, I would like to think the answer is yes so they didn’t die in vein.

It’s certainly been a challenge to write these responses week after week and I have no idea if the column will continue after I graduate this term. It’s neat to think that some other student out there at NEIU has some words of wisdom they can impart to another class of students and they might be writing an advice column after I graduate. I hope that’s the case and I hope they make it their own.

Over the course of the semester, I’ve tried to think of advice I wish I knew sooner and share it in this section. I think the most important lesson I wish I really understood sooner is this: Life is crazy, but if you learn to roll with the punches, it can be a really incredible ride. Nothing is permanent. Everything is a work in progress. Don’t beat yourself up so much that you can’t see past a problem. Don’t get stuck focusing on the negative. There really is always some reason to be thankful you have breath in your body, to wake up in the morning, and to try to make the world a little more awesome.

Whether you’ve read this column before, or this is your first time reading it and you got to this sentence–thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Bird’s Eye View of things and hope it’s helped you, in some small way, to fly a little higher.

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*Please note, if you are in crisis or have an immediate health issue, please seek help from a health care professional. The Independent may not respond to every question in print or via e-mail. Please utilize resources on campus, such as counseling services and student health, or see your healthcare provider for issues regarding mental and physical wellness.