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Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Least Favourite Question

Working as a waitress, lots of people seem to feel the need to ask personal questions about my life (usually when they are paying the bill and I can't reasonably run away).  For the last four years I tell them that I work part time and I go to university and usually that was a good enough answer and they would leave it at that. Or they might ask a few questions about what I'm taking or where I go to school.

But recently when people ask (customers, friends, and family alike) I confessed that I am in my last semester of university and will be graduating in December.  This usually prompts people to ask, "What are you going to do then?" or when they ask what I'm graduating with and I answer a Bachelor of Arts with an English Major they ask, "What are you going to do with that?"

At first I jokingly answered, "Oh I'll do whatever will pay me," and that usually got a laugh but as time went on and I moved closer and closer to graduating (I still have about four weeks left in this semester) the answer started to get less and less funny and the question of what I was going to do next became more worrisome and was constantly present in my mind.

I started to become obsessed and searching for jobs in my free time (which was limited).  And then I started to become discouraged when I didn't find an abundance of jobs I wanted or was qualified for.  The added stress of the future on top of the current stress of assignments and homework was weighing on me heavily and I found that most, if not all, of my motivation was gone.  The thought of graduation, something that I had originally been excited for, was now a grim moment in my future because I didn't know what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

When it got to be too much I thought again about why it was bothering me.  Was it because I didn't know what I would be doing in the new year or was it really because everyone else thought I should know what I would be doing?  Was it because I needed a plan to be happy or was it because I felt like I needed a plan to satisfy anyone who asked?  The more I thought about it the more it became clear that it was other people's expectations of me that was so frustrating.

People seemed so concerned with knowing what I would do in the future instead of asking what I was doing in the present.  Rarely did anyone ask me what I was learning right now, what my favourite class had been, or whether I even liked school or not.  Instead they only wanted to know what my job would be. I think this is likely because for many people this is the defining factor for themselves and others.  You hear it all the time, people will say, "I'm a doctor," or "I'm a teacher," rarely do they say something like, "I have a great family, I enjoy running and cooking and I also teach."

No matter what job I'm working, or what I do with my time I know I'll be OK.  I had to accept the fact that I have no power over the future and it will work itself out in whatever way it is meant to.  The most important part in letting go of all the frustration caused by job searching and the upcoming graduation was deciding once and for all what I wanted to define myself by.  I have a great family, a great group of friends, I enjoy writing and reading, I try hard every day to be a good person, and in January I'll be on the job hunt.


  1. Take your time and don't be pressured... and believe me, you'll get questions you don't like your whole life through..For me, its ".when will you get a long term partner, when will you get married, when will you get a house, when will you have a child, when will you have a second..."!! I am learning (and I am in my thirties) just about to nod and smile, and be vague!
    Claire x

  2. Haha great advice! Thank you Claire!


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