You know what the worst part of finishing grad school is? Everyone wants to know what your plan is now that you’re out of school. This is annoying when you have a plan. And really maddening when you’re like me and you don’t have a plan.
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I always feel like I’m being attacked when someone asks that question. I always want to react like a petulant teenager. Why do you care what my plan is? Leave me alone! And a little bit of petulant teenager is okay when I’m being asked by someone I know. But man, it’s bad when the person asking is a stranger.
Since I’m a hermit who doesn’t meet people, I’ve only had two strangers interrogate me about my post-graduation plans. But both times were awful. First of all, why were they even asking? Both instances were people I briefly met who I’ll probably never see again, so why bother. And why is it even socially acceptable to interrogate a stranger about their future plans? It wasn’t a job interview. It’s not fair; they can pry into my life but I can’t tell them to mind their own business (in less polite words, of course).
The most recent interrogation really stuck in my craw (as evidenced by the fact that it happened at least a month ago and it’s still bothering me). I went with my parents to my dad’s orthodontist appointment because they promised me lunch afterwards. The orthodontist came out to the waiting room with my dad after the appointment specifically to ask me about my plan. I have no idea why he thought that was any of his business. Nor can I fathom how he manages to keep patients when he is clearly incapable of picking up on social cues. (Seriously, everything about me screamed, “I don’t want to talk to you,” but this jerk kept asking me questions. I’m sure my parents were horrified by how rude I was being. But at least they didn’t yell at me about it in the car.) Admittedly, I hated him before he started interrogating me simply because he’s an (evil, evil) orthodontist. (Someday I might have to explain why I hate dental care providers so much, but today is not that day.) But then he started peppering me with questions, proving that I was right to hate him.
I suppose I could tell these rude people (and I’m talking about everyone who asks what my plan is) that I don’t know what my plan is. I’ve spent almost 33 years on this planet without ever having a plan and it’s worked out so far. But I know that “I don’t know” will just lead to more questions. It’s nice when people care (well, except for when the people caring are creepy strangers) and I’m sure they mean well, but they just make me feel bad. I just want a nice way to tell people that I appreciate their concern, but they’re not helping and it would be really great if they would just back off.
I don’t even know if any of this makes sense. I just needed to get it out of my head. Maybe I’ll be more lucid tomorrow.