Published on Nov. 16, 2018
Updated on July 22, 2020
Thanksgiving break is right around the corner and we all know what that means… endless questions from family members about what classes we are taking, what we are going to do with our lives and how we plan to use our summers. For some, this is an exciting time! For others, the holidays can be stressful. How do you answer questions when you have no answers? Well my friends, here is how:
- When you are undecided:
Before you leave for break, take a moment to reflect on what you have enjoyed about this semester. Know your interests and brainstorm specific activities and assignments you actually liked. When family members ask you what you are going to major in say, “I don’t know what my career path will be, but I know I like ______.” This creates space between you and the question-asker by assuring them with direction while also creating margin for you to explore further. This worksheet can help you get started on reflecting from the semester!
- When you are graduating soon:
Know your goals. It is really easy to feel guilty about not giving people specific answers (the who, what, and where), but when you know your goals, you can share those instead. Tell people that you are “interested in a job in __________ (general area/industry), would like to do ________________ kind of work (e.g. helping, leading, creating, researching) and live in___________(what kind of place? City, rural area, international, etc.). Let them know that nothing is decided, but you are taking the steps necessary to reach your goals. There seems to be a lot of pressure to know exactly what you are doing coming out of college, but more than likely, the person asking you these questions has been in your shoes. Ask them how they navigated life after college and open up the conversation for them to talk about their own experiences!
- After an underwhelming freshman year:
Freshman year is an exciting time full of newness and adventure. For some college students, this is their first time away from home and for many parents, this is their first time without their child living with them. It is very likely that a majority of your break will be spent talking about you—your interests, classes, and friends. At times, this can be overwhelming, especially when your freshman year wasn’t the best. If this is you, don’t fret. I have spoken to dozens of people and chances are, you aren’t the only one who may feel that way. Be honest about your experiences and come up with a plan to readjust for next semester, if needed. It is okay to tell people that you need a little break from talking about school and to simply enjoy your time at home.
Hang in there! You can do this. If you need help navigating any of this, feel free to come to the MU Career Center, located in the lower level of the Student Success Center. All appointments are walk-in and we can provide assistance with résumés, cover letters, career exploration, job search and much more.