How to Answer: What are you gonna do with that major?

Last updated on November 15, 2017

The holidays are a time of joy and merriment, but they are also a time when you get bombarded with questions from relatives about everything from your boyfriend or girlfriend to whether you’re eating right or not.

If you have a major that’s slightly abnormal (sustainability), artsy (theater), or something that people only associate with becoming a teacher (English), it might get annoying to hear, time and time again, “What are you gonna do with that major?”—especially if you’re not exactly sure what you’re gonna do.

Here are some stock responses you can use when you’re feeling the pressure to respond to this age-old question:

1. “Joining the circus.”

It’s a classic joke you can use as a deflection before making your way to the cookie table. Of course, if you can’t make it to the table, then you may actually have to come up with a non-joke response (see No. 2).

2. “I’m fielding opportunities on LinkedIn, Twitter, and [insert some other up-and-coming career social network].”

Chances are, Grandma Jo is going to be thoroughly confused, saying “What’s a Twitter?”—to which, you can field this question instead. And have fun with that.

3. “Professor So-and-so may have a summer opportunity. I’m looking into it.”

Even if you aren’t actually doing this, this lie is a good opportunity to think about what professor or professors you might go to for career advice and that might serve as a mentor. This is especially beneficial if you’re thinking about graduate school, as you will surely need recommendation letters from instructors.

4. Ask Aunt Suze or Uncle Jack about another relative who is struggling in some way.

This response is two-fold. While it acts as a good deflection, it also serves as wonderful irony when said aunt or uncle smites you for your art history practice, when it shows that there are other things to worry about.

5. “Not sure, but as soon as I figure that out, I’ll give you a call.”

This shows that you’re actually thinking about it, and it reassures them that once you make one of life’s biggest decisions, this person will be the first one to know.

Truth is, your relatives only ask this question because they worry about you, which is a good thing. They don’t mean to meddle—it’s just something that happens sometimes.

The good news is that you don’t have to know what you’re doing right now.

The beauty of life is discovering the highs and lows for yourself along the way (you can always use this as a response, too).