The Graduate: Katherine Schwarzenegger shows (and tells) her post-college plans

May 2014 | by | in Profiles

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It might come as a surprise that Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Kennedy Maria Shriver, would feel lost after college graduation. Her future, to us, might have seemed more than assured. But when the 24-year-old graduated from the University of Southern California a few years ago, she had no more idea of what she wanted to do with her life than your typical graduate. 

Faced with a nonstop barrage of questions—“What are you going to do?” “What’s your plan?” “What’s next?”—Schwarzenegger proposed a radical new idea. Rather than diving straight into an unpromising career track for the sake of occupying her time and staying busy, she wanted to pause. It was a sentiment echoed by her mother that year when she gave the commencement address to USC urging the graduates to take a month, two months or the entire summer to find a job that was right for them. 

I Just Graduated… Now What?: Honest Answers from Those Who Have Been There, Schwarzenegger’s new book, is a compendium of advice from highly successful people in a variety of fields. With a contributor list ranging from Bear Grylls to Anderson Cooper to Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, I Just Graduated has tips for pretty much any career path you want to take. Almost all of it centers around a single theme: stay focused, pursue your passion and the money will follow.

“Everything that’s supposed to happen will happen, everything that happens in your life is meant to be,” Schwarzenegger says. “I decided that I would also be a believer in that, to focus on what’s happening for me in the present.”

Despite its April 1 release, it’s no joke. I Just Graduated is a balanced view of the successes and failures that have shaped its contributors’ lives. Though each of them are at or nearing the top of their fields, their accounts speak to a lifetime spent struggling and striving, always reaching for the next thing even when they had no idea how to achieve it.

Her biggest takeaway?

“It’s been very comforting to hear all these people talk about their journeys and their paths,” Schwarzenegger says. “There’s no one specific path out of college anymore. There are so many opportunities available to us. It’s great, but also overwhelming.” 

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