This is a post that has been stewing around in my head for quite awhile. As a sophomore, almost a junior in college, I have heard A LOT of these. The unfortunate thing is people often think they are being helpful or supportive by offering these words of advice though I think sometimes they can do more harm than good. So, I’m going to quickly go through a few of these and say my peace as to why I have a problem with each of the selected phrases. Let’s get to it now, shall we?
1. “Just follow your dreams.”
This is a super loaded statement, nor is it particularly helpful. Students should consider a variety of factors which includes but it not only limited to their passions. If you ONLY consider this singular variable, this could lead you to a precarious position. Pursue your passions, of course, but also consider that that doesn’t always mean making it your career.
2. “The next step is always college/higher education.”
College is expensive. I think we all know this. If you’re not entirely sure if it’s the right next step for you, maybe take a step back and look at your options. There are alternatives to college. There is something to be said for trade schools or simply applying to entry level jobs and working your way up.
3. “You need to decide X, Y, and Z right now.” & “You can’t change your mind.”
Some decisions are time sensitive but decisions such as what you choose to major in, what career you’re working towards, etc. can be changed. So while it may be technically true that you need to choose a field of study soon after graduating, this is also a decision that can be
4. “Just find something that will make you money.”
Money, like your passions, is a factor that must be considered while planning your future. It should not, however, be considered solely. Again, like your passions, it is one of a few factors to think about.
I think if you were to summarize all these phrases and my problems with them is that they offer little to no nuance on a subject that depends highly on the person and their specific set of circumstances. There is no one way to live your life and certain decisions and life styles suit some people and not others. So, if you know a graduate and want to support them, do so by letting them know that no one really has it figured out in adulthood. Tell them that they should try new things and do their best. Tell them to prepared to work hard but also enjoy some little things about being an adult now. It seems scary at first, but you can do it!