Going home for the holidays can be both really fun and dreaded. It is dreaded because who wants to be asked literally 50+ times about how your classes that you may or may not be struggling with are going, the major you haven’t chosen, what you want to do with the major you have chosen, or the job you haven’t found.
Claire Klieger in her article “Facing the Lion’s Den: Addressing Tough Questions During the Holidays” gives some helpful tips on how to answer all of these unwanted questions.
- The first is don’t show fear. She brings up the very valid point that the more confident and upbeat you are about the path you have chosen or the options that you have the more likely they are to support you instead of questioning you further.
- The best offense is a good defense. This is saying that you should be prepared. You know that these questions are going to come up so you might as well be ready to answer them. One way you can be prepared is to look at our Graduate Follow-up Report. This shows where UMD graduates are working, how much they are getting paid, and can give you a good idea on what you can do with your major when it comes up in conversation.
- Show them what steps you are taking. There are many people who are concerned about your future success, and they are just trying to hear about you working to succeed. There are many links on our website that are specifically for the job or internship search such as GoldPASS. Talk to your family about how you have been researching these links and have gotten some leads. There are also job fairs that you can talk about whether you attended one recently or are planning on attending them in the future.
- Embrace your strengths. Talk to them about all of the reasons why you are confident that an employer should hire you into their company. Talk about these skills with your family, and maybe they can also help you discover more strengths for future interviews.
Another article titled “Home for the Holidays” talks about how you can use your family as a resource for connecting with possible employers. I am sure most, if not all, of them have a job of sorts. They might either know someone in your field of study or have a connection in some way. Use this to your advantage. Ask them questions and maybe they can lead you to a contact in a company you have been looking at, give you an in to a company you hadn’t thought of before, or be a reference for a company that they have close relations with. The author also says that it is important to share with them what you are up to. They may still see you as the irresponsible young person playing with toys that you used to be rather than the responsible man or woman who is old enough to be in search of a job. They know you are growing up, and often don’t realize how much you have changed or what stage of life you are in. By letting them know exactly what you are looking for they might be able to help you in your search.
The holidays can be both relaxing and a nuisance when you are a college student going home to celebrate. Whether your family is looking for answers about your future plans or you are the one doing the questioning to try and find connections for future jobs, make the most out of your holiday trips and gatherings! And remember when you are stuck with those unwanted or difficult questions to not show fear, the best offense is a good defense, show them the steps you are taking, and embrace your strengths.