You’re studying WHAT? So, what are you going to DO with that? Love, Your Family

Relatives at the holidays mean well. They worry (and sometimes nag!) because they care. But you can prepare yourself now to put your relatives at ease and maybe even shorten the interrogation about your future.

One of your family’s worst fears for you is that you work hard in college, graduate, but end up underemployed – or even unemployed. Since 2008, your relatives have read that recent grads are accepting jobs that only require a high school degree – and that these grads are worse off than someone with only a high school diploma. Holding an unutilized college degree means that the employee has missed out on those two or four years of relevant work experience and likely has student loans besides.

Now that you understand why your family is so worried, here’s what you can do to help them calm down – even if you haven’t completely figured things out yourself.

Take the Universum career test
If you attend one of the schools that Universum is testing, keep an eye on your email. When you take the test, you’ll be asked to think about what’s important to you in a future job. Talking this over with your family shows them that you’re thinking seriously about your future.

When you find out your career personality at the end of the Universum career test, you’ll get suggestions about the company culture and job responsibilities that best suit you. Are you a Harmonizer or a Hunter? There’s only one way to find out!

Universum also shows you companies that you hadn’t thought of before. It’s a great jumping-off point to research internships or jobs.

Show off the facts
Research overwhelmingly shows that that a college degree is still a good investment. Underemployment for college grads has finally started to shrink. To find out what sort of return on investment you can expect from your education, google “college wage premium.”

Did you know that Philosophy majors actually make the most money of any humanities major? If you need support when you’re convincing your family that you won’t live in an unheated garret, use this PayScale report to prove that you won’t starve. It shows estimated income based on major and industry throughout a career.

Talk about the steps you’ve already taken
Show off with all the networking things that you’ve been doing. You have been networking, right?

Share one possible career path with relatives, and ask them if they know anyone in the area. They’ll be so busy racking their own brains that the interrogation might end.

Remember college doesn’t last forever
Eventually, you will find a job, and this line of questioning will go away. Your family members won’t be around forever, either. Try to go easy on them. They’re only trying to connect with you. And isn’t this better than getting your cheeks pinched?