Everyday, my University of Wisconsin inbox finds itself filled to the brim with emails from classes, random student orgs and the occasional phishing scam. On special days, I’ll get a WISCAlert email about extreme weather or a crime.
On really special days I’ll get a WISCAlert that combines the two — does anyone else remember when that guy robbed a Pizza Hut on campus and tried to hide in the UW arboretum during the height of the polar vortex, way back in 2019?
I’m not making that up, either, that actually did happen, and the Pizza Hut bandit incident lives in my brain rent-free. I fear I’ll never be able to forget it. Give us clicks and read about it here.
My point is, as a 2022 graduating senior, very few of the emails that end up in my inbox grab my attention anymore. I read the ones I have to, like the ones from the occasional professor, the Office of the Chancellor, or the legendary Becky Blank herself. But, no email has made me feel real fear quite like the one I received this past week — the senior poll for post-graduation plans.
Full-disclosure — I used to have a plan, and it was even a really good one. I wanted to go to law school right after I got my undergraduate degree, so when I was a wee little freshman, I decided I would study really hard during my junior year and get a knockout LSAT score that would guarantee my entry into the law school of my dreams. Can you guess what didn’t happen?
I could go on and on and on about what went wrong, though it mostly boils down to the COVID-19 pandemic and nightmarish bad luck while taking the online LSAT, but the details won’t change the cold, harsh reality of my situation.
I will not be going to law school immediately following graduation, and honestly, I have no earthly idea what my post-graduation plans are anymore.
My college experience, along with all of my other graduating class of 2022 peers, has been about as consistent as UW’s COVID-19 policy, which tends to change dramatically every 3-6 months. So, when I found myself being asked to take this poll, it occurred to me that not only did I need to have a plan, I would need to have one that could withstand pandemic-level change.
After all, my sweet, handsome little boy — also known as my cat, lovingly named Cheese Pizza — will need me to have a job and a plan that pays me well enough to keep buying him treats and cat food. But how am I supposed to come up with that? And how do I even put that on a survey?
Did I mention I’m a philosophy major? Yeah, you read that right. If you find yourself wondering what kind of job prospects I’ll have with that degree, so am I!
Don’t get me wrong, philosophy is a great degree to have going into law school, you pick up so many of the skills you’ll need to have to do well — close reading, formal logic, strong written communication skills … you get the picture. But as we’ve established, that next step has been delayed another year or so for me by my law school rejection letters so, respectfully, it’s useless.
I’m only kidding, no education is useless… right?
In all seriousness, my fellow 2022 graduates and I have had a college experience like no other, and if it’s taught us anything at all, it’s that you actually can’t plan for everything. Nowhere in my freshman five-year plan did I see the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s okay. I guess.
So for now, when I fill out that wretched survey taking up space in my inbox, I’ll begrudgingly select the “I’m going to enter the workforce” option and the “I don’t currently have a job lined up” follow-up response.
To my peers who find themselves in a similar situation, I encourage you to answer the survey and do the same. We’ll figure it out eventually.