Over the last two decades, the term schema has become increasingly used by sociologists studying culture. Viewed largely as a kind of mental shortcut that individuals internalize by means of their various experiences, the concept enables researchers to study how societal-level factors such as norms and values impact individual action by way of shaping individuals’ cognitive structures. However, little attention is given to how and why schemas are used in specific situations as well as the extent to which they are alternated between. Through comparative analysis of two sets of in-depth interviews on the topics of dying and careers, I find that individuals alternate through various schemas as they attempt to answer questions posed to them. I argue that the presence of this alternation weakens assumptions regarding the automaticity of the deployment of schemas in the reasoning process by signaling that schemas may be triggered automatically but used iteratively.