Ask Natalie: why does everyone insist on asking what my plan is after graduation?


I’m graduating this year and I'm freaking out pretty hard. Everyone’s asking me what I’m planning on doing, where I want to live, if I’m looking at grad school, at internships, at literally every opportunity. It’s making me a stress mountain.”

Take a big breath. You’re not alone. Everyone who is entering the “adult world” gets these questions. Just because you don’t know all the answers doesn’t mean you won’t in a few months.

Opportunities change plans. Job offers introduce new cities. Friends move and jobs stay. The future is flexible. You’re not going to ruin anything by not setting anything in stone yet. A simple “I’m looking at a few different opportunities” can help out in a pinch.

You still have a year left. It may not seem like too long, but a lot can happen in a year. Maybe you’ll get a job offer from the other side of the country or the other side of the world. Maybe you’ll start a business. Maybe you’ll fall in love and move to be closer to them. Maybe you’ll look grad school and maybe you’ll take a few years off school to gain other skills.

You’ll get by. You’ll find a job, even if it’s not a career that will pay your rent, your groceries and your student loans. You’ll find out where the opportunities you want are happening and you’ll network and apply and work your ass off until you get there and realize you’re never going to be done growing or learning or living.

Being flexible and open to new opportunities is a part of being alive. Graduating university won’t change that — you just won’t be paying for it.

“Dear Natalie,

I’m a lazy person — I’ll admit it. All summer long I’ve been sitting at home or at my job or with friends. I’ve also been eating a lot. Mostly junk food. A lot of tacos. Anyway, I’m heading back to UBC in two weeks and I would like to look like I haven’t been living a terrible life. Especially in my stomach region. How do I do that?”

If you’re looking for time to get in shape, there’s no better time than the present! While there’s nothing wrong with being a few pounds over what you’d like to be, there is also nothing wrong with wanting to get your body moving and looking a way you are more comfortable with.

You seem to have isolated the two major things in your lifestyle that would have caused a change in your body. I’m also the type of person who hates running and loves eating cookies.

The best way for a beginner to get into working out is to find something you find fun. If going to the gym and lifting weights for an hour is fun to you, the BirdCoop on campus is the cheapest gym around. The Aquatic Centre is free for students if swimming sounds like something you would enjoy, and there are lessons available if you want to learn.

If you don’t like the sound of those ideas, look into Rec’s fall programs. They have fun, social classes like Burlesque and Hip Hop dance or more goal focused — but equally as fun — classes like the extremely popular Krav Maga Self Defence or Jiu Jitsu classes.

Other than that, it’s just simple lifestyle changes. Sure, candy for dinner is amazing, but so is feeling good about yourself. Eating healthy is the best way to see change. It’s hard to do at university, when you may be first cooking for yourself, but if you really want to do it, you can.

But still enjoy a good taco every once in awhile.

“Dear Natalie,

My little sister graduated high school this year and she’s coming to UBC. She’s a few years younger than me and I think me being here influenced her decision to apply. She’s not in the same program as me, but I have a feeling she’ll try to rely on me for a lot. I love her, but I don’t want to share my friends because she’s too shy to make her own. Help?”

You can be supportive of her transition into university without letting her copy yours. Take her out to dinner when she’s here, but tell her that discovering yourself in university is super fun and important and you don't want to get in the way of her journey.

Give her at least a month before you introduce her to your social circle and even then make it a group setting so it doesn’t feel too awkward for anyone. Your sister should be friendly with your friends, but she should also have her own.

Just be open and honest with her and you’ll both be fine.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at or at and have your questions answered!