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My friend and I disagree slightly....


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Hi all. You may have seen a post about getting 3 rejections and nothing else - that was me. Basically I've heard back from 3/11 schools, and those three were rejections and I'm freaking out about what it means. Anyway...

My best friend gets upset when I say that I "have no plans for next year" (we're both graduating seniors.) What I mean by this is that I have no plans in place. What she means is that she doesn't have any idea about what she wants to do (she studies English literature and doesn't know what she likes).

I see her point, but if grad school falls through, then I have no backups at the moment. I have some ideas of where I'd like to work, but that's it.

Any advice? I want us to be in an understanding with each other.

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My friend and I had similar issues, with her not realizing how competitive grad school can be and not understanding why I'm freaking out, and me not quite understanding her fear of not knowing what she wants to do with her major.

The best thing to realize is that both fears are valid. You can support her and be there for her, and still be afraid for your own reasons. Being afraid because of not having a backup plan and being afraid of not knowing what you want to do are both okay. You don't have to share her fear to support her, and vice versa. I would talk to her and let her know that talking about your own anxiety doesn't mean you're disregarding hers. Listen if she needs to talk about it, offer any advice you can. My best friend felt like she would be locked into a career and if she doesn't like it, she'll be trapped because she isn't sure what she wants to do with her major, and won't be able to afford to go back to college later to change it. My advice to her is that she majored in English, and can do a lot of different jobs. She can use those to build her resume, and talk about skills she's gained, and use that to her advantage if she wants to try work in a different field. I don't know if that's the same as your friend's fear, but maybe offer that advice?

There will also be times where you're both stressed out, don't understand each other, and can't resolve it. That's fine too. I think by the time we're adults, we're all mature enough to understand we won't agree on everything. As long as she understands you're there for her, and that her feelings are valid whether you understand or not, things will be fine between you guys. And let her know you hope she feels the same. 

Hope that helps! :)

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Be understanding of what she is saying. You may not know where you'll be next year, but you have chosen a path for yourself, and if it doesn't work this way, it'll work out another way, and you'll keep trying. Think about what it means not to have that knowledge about yourself -- having a major part of your life end and being profoundly confused about what to do next. This is where your friend is at. I can understand when she says that yes, your situation is hard, but it might sound to her like you're rubbing it in when you say you have no plans when really you do have a plan in motion, you just don't know how it'll end yet. In the end, both of your fears are real and they are both valid. So I'd propose being understanding of her and accommodating her situation, because I'm sure that she needs someone to talk to. And you should talk to her and explain your own anxieties too, because this period of waiting and not knowing, and the prospect of failing the first time around and having to regroup, are all very hard to deal with alone and it's important to have someone to talk to. Maybe you can think about the words you choose -- say "I don't know where I'll be next year" or "I don't know what I'll do if I get rejected across the board," which are more accurate and more accommodating of where your friend is, too.

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Oh, and just to let you know, I didn't originally plan to do speech pathology, and changed my mind about my major when I transferred to a 4 year university. I didn't understand how competitive the programs were, applied to 4 schools, and didn't get in. I didn't have a back up plan either. 

You cry, you call your friends and talk to them, you do things that make you feel better (yoga and tea helped me), and you realize you have an entire year to focus on growing yourself. I promise that even if you feel like you've hit a dead-end, things will be better. I wasn't working, finished college, didn't have anything I could really do with my bachelors (linguistics with a minor in cognitive science), and was freaking out. I spent the summer interning, started volunteering, adopted a puppy, got an ESL certification, and now work as a teacher part time, making a good wage and getting skills I can apply to my future career, and I took this time to save up and am about to travel abroad. It might seem like things are bad at first if you don't get in, but now you have an entire year that's entirely yours, so take some time to relax after the whole application cycle, and then make the best of it you can :)

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