“So, what are you doing after you graduate?” – What to do if this question makes you nervous

by Faith & Life, Vocation

What to do when this question, “So, what are you doing after you graduate?”, makes you a little nervous.

When someone finds out that you are a senior in college, there seems to be a typical conversation that goes something like this…

“Oh wow! You’re a senior! So… what are you doing next year?”

“Well… yes… I’m a senior… and next year, I’m going to…”

Cue blank stare and sweaty palms. Then the little energizer bunny inside begins to run in circles and come up with blueprint after blueprint of what next year could look like. The result, generally more anxiety as I realize I am grappling with a lot of unknowns.  

Catholic comedians Jim and Jeanne Gaffigan give some crucial advice about doing the impossible after graduation.

There is a real fear and but also excitement in any time of transition, especially after graduating college. The Christian life is not a stagnant call. We are called to move forward, but always be present. What does that even mean?  What is the balance between being passive, too aggressive, accepting God’s will, and trusting that He is a Father who always provides for his children?

I have yet to figure it out, but here are some encouraging words to help you grow in trust amidst unknown post-grad plans.

1. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” Psalm 136:1

It seems silly and even dumb to trust someone who intends to pull the rug out from under you. First, we need to know that we can trust God; we need to know Him as our loving Father. Praising God for who He is helps us to rest in who we are – His children! When we acknowledge that God is good, He is faithful, He is trustworthy, we can begin to trust in His promise to us.

Try praying with Psalms 105, 111, and 136.

2. Pope Francis said in a homily that the present “is our answer to this good God, who has chosen me, given me a promise, and offers me a covenant; and I form a covenant with him”.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the talk and intensity of where and what everyone is doing. We need to constantly come back to the fact that God desires our hearts, not our resumes! Work is necessary in our lives, but we do not have to prove ourselves to God. Mother Teresa said that, “God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful”. He desires more than a contract with us; he desires a covenantal relationship!

3. We see the snapshot, but God sees the big picture.

It can be easy to feel and live as though one big decision will shape the rest of your life. But, being faithful is a deeper call, beyond any post grad plans we may have. That is not to say the next step in our lives is not important, but I am often surprised by how many people were led to the next step or phase in their life not by a strong wind, an earthquake, or even a fire, but rather, by “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).

4. Jesus didn’t begin his ministry until he was in his 30s!

Instant relief.

5. “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Try beginning each day praying to be with the Lord and stay with him throughout the day. Pray to walk with Him, listen at his feet, and stay grounded in what He is asking of us in the gift of the present.

6. Read 33 Days to Merciful Love!  

This is an amazing and simple book written by Father Michael Gaitley with short daily reflections focusing on St. Therese and the little way to Jesus’s merciful heart. This has been extremely helpful to me and I highly recommend it to anyone who desires to grow in trust.


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