Dear seniors, you don’t need an answer yet

Miles Tiemeyer is a senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public and political science double major. He is a guest writer for the Newswire from Cincinnati.

I know what you’re thinking: Here’s another senior who is going to complain about how hard it is to find a job and how they don’t want to leave Xavier. Well it’s true! I truly have enjoyed my time at Xavier and everything that comes with that journey, even the dreaded end of it. 

We all know how awkward it can be sometimes to ask someone if they have post-grad plans. In my experience, people either just straight up ask, “So what are you doing after graduation?” or they dance around the question making the conversation so awkward that you basically have to bring it up.

My answer to the question changes every time I get asked. I would love to be able to answer confidently and with detail, but honestly, I’m just not there yet. Sometimes I get jealous of my friends who have had jobs lined up since September, but then I remember they were in the same place as me just a couple of months prior.

There’s a stigma attached to not knowing what you’re doing after graduation. I feel like I should have an answer because if I don’t, then what were the last four years for?

Sometimes those thoughts win the day, but on better days, I remember that, though my timeline is a little different, it is my timeline. I’m applying for jobs and going to interviews. I’m putting in the work, but that work is part of a process. The process is not simply getting a job but also discerning and figuring out what exactly I am meant to do.

In what feels like a life time ago at our PPP retreat sophomore year, Abby King-Kaiser led us through a discernment reflection. She asked us, “Are you good at it? Do you enjoy it? And does the world need it?” Throughout my college career I have met with countless Xavier staff and faculty as well as outside mentors to figure out what the hell I am supposed to be doing in the world. I would love to say that ,as we are close to 70 days away from graduation, that I have an answer, but I still have steps to take.

I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of things, like campus ministry or political advocacy, but where are those jobs? No, seriously, if you have any, feel free to email me. So, whenever you ask me what I’m doing post-grad, you will probably get some combination of whatever job I am currently trying to get related to those fields.

And I don’t know how other seniors feel, but I am so tired of being asked what I am doing post-grad. Sometimes it feels like I’m being valued on whether I have a job.

For those of you thinking, “It’s rude not to ask someone about themselves,” that’s fine, but let’s ask a different question. Let’s start asking seniors if they are enjoying their senior year. I would love to talk to you about all of the different things I’m enjoying as I wrap up my Xavier experience. If you ask if I’m enjoying it, you give me the opportunity to bring up post grad without forcing it on me.

I mentioned earlier that I had no idea what I wanted to do post grad, but that’s not entirely true. I found my dream job working as a lobbyist for a group that advocates for Catholic social justice at the federal level. It was a combination of all the different things I wanted in life. You may be asking why I’m not doing that. Well, I applied and was rejected.

I know it seems dumb but I kind of forgot that I’m not just going to get every job I apply for. I spent so much time and energy trying to figure out what I wanted to do that I forgot that was just the first step in the long, long process.

I wish I had some sort of wisdom for other people going through this, but all I can say is keep grinding and keep looking for the things you’re good at, that you enjoy and that the world needs.