How Do I Tell Everyone to Stop Asking Me About My Future?
Now that it’s actually 2017, AKA the year that I graduate, the end of high school is all I can think about. But it’s not relief I feel. It’s pure stress, because all everyone asks me is where I’m going next year and what I’m studying. The truth is, I have no idea! I’m still waiting to hear back from a bunch of schools and I’m in agony about it.
Before we impart what are supposed to be some Very Wise Words, we have some bad news: This feeling will never go away. The whole “So where are you going to school?” question might be all anyone will ask you about now—but as soon as you hit senior year of college, the only thing anyone will ask you is what you’re doing next. Do you have a job yet? An apartment? A whole fancy life since, hello, you’re an adult? And then, once you have those things, it’ll be something else. Do you have a mortgage? A significant other? An engagement ring? When’s the baby coming? But that doesn’t mean our advice is just, well, get used to it. Because, truthfully, you probably won't.
There’s a podcast we listen to and love called Eliza Starting at 16. Eliza is actually now 17, but her musings are no less relevant. She’s a high school senior, and in a recent episode she talked about how one of her classmates made stickers that said “Don’t ask me about college.” This is genius. It’s so genius that we wish this anonymous classmate would make a whole lot of “Don’t ask me about…” stickers for every single life milestone.
We’ve found a surprisingly high number of people feel completely OK asking intrusive questions. And weirdly, it’s usually people you don’t know very well (or people your parents or grandparents introduce you to). So it can feel awkward to say to someone—especially an adult, often a total stranger—something along the lines of, “You know, sorry, but I don’t want to talk about that.”
But guess what? It gets a whole lot less awkward after you say it once. In two or five or ten years, it’s still not going to be easy to look someone in the eye and say, “Nah, next question.” But it’s a pretty essential life skill nonetheless. Pretend you’re Emma Stone being asked about her love life, or Harry Styles being asked about the future of One Direction, or something. Boundaries are healthy. Not sharing things you don’t want to share? Also healthy!
Other appropriate responses to this dreaded college question: “Not sure yet, and I’m trying not to stress over it too much.” Although polite, this answer makes it clear you don’t want to be interrogated. You could also simply smile and say, “When I find out, I’ll let you know,” then change the subject immediately to the weather, a mutual friend, a TV show, literally ANYTHING else that shows that sorry, this subject is closed.
Or, when all else fails, there's this T-shirt.