Deep Zots: Post-grad Woes and The Illusion of Success

Welcome, this is the second publication of Deep Zots. Here I have transcribed brief excerpts from a talk I had with fellow Anteater Fausto Sandoval. Fausto is a third-year transfer student and a psychology and social behavior major. In the interest of keeping the discussion informal and genuine, I allowed Fausto to pick the topic he wished to discuss. You may find the full audio and video at


Fausto:  There’s been something that’s been on my mind for a long time, and it’s the whole topic of success. I’m in college and I’m thinking about graduating in two years, right? What am I going to do after that? There’s this pressure that you have to know what you’re going to do and I end up thinking: what if I graduate and I end up doing something I could have done even without going to college? So, that’s something that’s been on my mind.


Naser: That has been on my mind too. I think that’s something that goes on in a lot of our minds.


Fausto: What’s a correct way for you to think about it?


Naser: I don’t know if there is a correct way. It’s one of those issues that doesn’t really come up and go away. It’s one of those issues that comes up throughout my college experience. It’s funny that you mention that — it was a few days ago before my midterm essay was due and I just had one of those moments where I was like, why am I in college? Why am I here? The honest truth that I realized for myself that day was I’m in college because it’s my only safe option. It’s the only option which I feel safe doing. I’m afraid of doing another option and I think a lot of people are in college because of that. In this day and age, if you don’t go to college you’re seen as irrational, you’re seen as unreasonable.


Fausto: I totally agree.


Naser: Yeah, there’s so much fear involved in not doing college. Life is confusing as hell as is and college puts a path in front of us and says: if you go this way, you may find a career. But then, nobody says what you do if you don’t go that way, or at least they’re not saying it loud enough for us to hear.


Fausto: Exactly. For me, it was kind of the same thing, I was studying for my midterm and I didn’t feel quite ready and it was one of those times in my life. (…) I almost didn’t get into UCI and I remember when I got into UCI, I told myself I’m going to take this opportunity and I’m  just going to kick butt at UCI. I’m going to do everything, I’m going to better my life, just as a whole, as a better person. I was sitting there and I was just like: I’m not doing any of those things and I’m not honestly trying in my classes, I’m not. I know I could be doing much better, as well as in other areas of my life. What if I don’t get into graduate school and I’ve spent all this money and I end up working somewhere I could have without going to school.


(An argument began as me and Fausto had differing perspectives on the topic, yet we ended on a common note.)


Naser: My point of view would be, try to do something where you can contribute to society. Ok, so some way you can make money. (…) I just don’t want [money] to be your focus.


Fausto: And I don’t want it to be my focus either.


Naser: Okay so try find a way where you can contribute and try and find a way where you would enjoy contributing to society.


Fausto: That’s something that I would love to do, (…) wherever I go I try to help people.



Naser Dashti is a fourth-year sociology major. He can be reached at