"So what are you doing right now?" is not a new question, nor is it an interesting one. The course of my life post-graduation has no direct bearing upon what you do with the rest of your undergraduate years or your year off or anything else. It's just what I happen to feel like doing.
When people ask me what I'm doing, they're so often asking the equivalent of, "What should I do to ensure commercial viability in the ever-changing, intimidating field of journalism?" Or, alternately, giving me a thinly veiled, "Psh, why didn't you move to ____ like ____ and do ____? Don't you want to be successful?"
Well of course I want to be successful.
Here's what I have to tell you: Live your own life. Expand your conversation skills beyond questions about college majors, activities and immediate post-graduation plans, and then maybe we'll talk. But if you've never worked an honest day in your life and you're asking me what the working life is like, just forget it—I can't explain it to someone who's never lived it.
Then there's this question: "So what are you doing next year?"
Are you just writing this year off as a loss or something? Or are you just not thinking about the meaning of the questions you ask?
What would you say if I told you I were staying here another year? What if I decided to stay for another five years? Would you be disappointed?
OK, say you're disappointed. Focus on that feeling, that disappointment. Turn it around in your mind—what does this disappointment stem from? Is it because I have "so much potential"? Is it because you care about me and want the best for me? Is it because you hate to see me "struggling" or "wasting my potential like this"?
Or is it because you're afraid you'll "end up" like me?
Take a look at the jobs I have listed. I'm not exactly wasting my potential, nor am I struggling. I've gotten promoted twice this fall. I'm easily going somewhere with this.
And if you're concerned about "ending up" like me, get over it—every second I'm choosing to live this life. Read that again: It's my life. My choice to live it. Mine.
You can be part of what I've got going on now, or you can continue to ask me thoughtless questions about my future.