It’s graduation season! With high school and college seniors prepping their caps and gowns for the big event, the one question on most up-and-coming grads’ minds remains constant: What do I do next?
Luckily, Katherine Schwarzenegger can provide a little direction with hew new book I Just Graduated…Now What? ($20; randomhouse.com). In the pages, she interviews everyone from Eva Longoria and John Legend to her parents Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Schriver about their post-college career paths, and how their obstacles had a part in how they turned out today.
“I think that when you graduate college, so many of us are so concerned about what our job will be, and if we don’t get our dream job right out of college, we’ll be failures,” she tells InStyle.com exclusively. “The reality of it is, all of these people in the book started out in jobs you’d never imagine them being in, and they still managed to achieve their dreams, and get to where they want in life.”
Schwarzenegger picked a wide range of subjects to speak with, and included stories both from those who graduated college and those who dropped out. “It’s not just for graduates,” she says. “It’s also for anyone who wants to know more about the people I interviewed, and for people who are transitioning from one job to another, so it has great life lessons.”
Though she has it figured out now, like many of us, that wasn’t always the case. “I really wish I would have known that not everyone has their act together out of college, because when we were graduating, literally everyone seemed to have a plan for themselves except me,” she says. “I’m such a planner so the fact that I didn’t have it all mapped out was concerning. I wish I had known that just because you don’t have a plan for yourself, that doesn’t determine your future.”
In taking on this project, Schwarzenegger gained optimistic perspective knowing that stars like Anderson Cooper, and Jillian Michaels went through the exact same thing. “I think one of the most unexpected things I learned was the importance of failure,” she notes. “You grow up wanting to avoid failure at all costs and you think of it as something you don’t necessarily want to experience, but every single person I talked to talked about failure being one of the most-important things you can experience out of college. It allows you to pick yourself back up, learn from your mistakes, and still achieve really amazing things.”
Out of all the subjects she interviewed for the book, Schwarzenegger admits that speaking to Andy Cohen especially left her star-struck. “Andy is a big part of my generation and what my generation does with their time, and I was a little nervous before interviewing him because I watch him on TV almost every night!” she says.
With her book tour in full swing, we asked Schwarzenegger to spill all the details on her travel essentials, and no surprise to us, she has the packing process down to a science. “I grew up with the rule that we were never allowed to check our luggage; there were a lot of us and when we traveled, my mom didn’t want to wait in the baggage claim for our luggage to come out, so it was easier to just take a carry-on,” she says. “When I travel by myself, there’s a little more leniency in being able to check a bag, but I always, always put my toiletries and makeup in my carry-on. I figure if my suitcase gets lost, I can always take care of myself even if the bag doesn’t come for a few days.” Great tip! Click through our gallery to see all of her travel must-haves.