Friday, February 3, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

Okay, so I'm just going to put it out there: I suck at making decisions.  Seriously, like, what is wrong with me?!?!  On New Year's Eve I went shopping with my boyfriend's mom for, what else?, champagne.  I couldn't decide on what champagne to get.  Granted, I know as much about types of champagne as I know about separating subatomic particles but, still... what the heck!  His mom even called me out on it:
His mom: You're not very good at making decisions, are you?
Me: *shakes head* Nope.
His mom: *chuckling* I can tell.
...Thanks... :'(
*Note: There are no hard feelings.*
I feel like decisions have always been an issue for me but recently I feel like it's gotten worse.  It goes deeper than just deciding on champagne.  Recently, I had to decide on what classes to drop this semester.  I registered for 19 credits.  Yes... really... 19 credits, knowing I would drop at least 2 of the classes.  (Not to mention I only actually need 5 more credits to graduate.)  So, you can imagine my dilemma: a girl who can't decide on a bottle of champagne deciding on what classes (none of which are required) to keep for the next 15 weeks of her life.  Ugh, the agony.  Luckily, I finally came to a decision that I am perfectly content with, and dropped 3 classes (one was a 1-credit seminar) I wasn't in love with.  Now I would like to dedicate this post to sharing with you all 5 things I have learned from my decision-making dilemmas:
1.) Don't make a pros and cons list.  I feel like a lot of people think it's smart to make a pros and cons list.  What should you do when you make a decision?  Make a pros and cons list!  However, to me, and in my experiences, it only makes it worse.  I even read in Cosmo once to ditch the idea of the pros and cons list.  (Not that I take everything I read in Cosmo and apply it to my own life, but this made sense to me.)  Sometimes, there are way more positives for one choice over the other.  Still, we want to make the other choice.  (Does this make sense?)  As an example, for the decision I made between two of the classes this semester my lists would have been like:
Class A:
Pros: Great professor (had her before), Material I'm familiar with (in my major), People I know (in my major), Meets only one day a week
Cons: A lot of work (research papers), Meets at a weird time

Class B:
Pros: Course seems interesting and applicable to life, Less work
Cons: Early morning class, People I don't know, Material I've never learned about

So, for Class A I had a 4:2 ratio of pros to cons, meanwhile Class B I had a 2:3 ratio.  Based on this pros and cons list I should have gone with Class A, but I didn't.  I actually chose Class B.  The idea of a class applicable to life, and less work (let's face it, I'm a senior and I don't actually need either class...) outweighed everything else.  Basically, what I've learned is not to shame myself by making a pros and cons list.  And for you: you probably already know what you want your decision to be, so by doing this to yourself you run the risk of feeling guilty about a decision you're already totally content with.  Got it?

2.) Think of your future.  I think this advice is especially helpful when you're making a big decision, like where to go to college, or what job to take.  Think to yourself, "If I go to this college, where will I be in a year, or 2, or 5...?"  Then think to yourself, "Where do I want to be in a year, or 2, or 5...?"  If both of your answers seem compatible, then go with your decision.  However, if both of your answers don't align, maybe it's time to look at Plan B...

*Personal Story: Like many, back in high school I applied to colleges at the beginning of my Senior year.  I actually applied as an Education major... I wanted nothing more than to be a History teacher.  As acceptance letters started rolling in from various schools I found myself thinking... "Really?  A History teacher?" and "Really?  So far from home?"  I couldn't see myself as a teacher for the rest of my life anymore.  Also, I couldn't see myself being so far away from my family, who I'm extremely close to.  So, that's when I decided not to go to school for teaching and to stay at a school closer to home.  Now I'm about to graduate from college in a field I had never thought of back in high school, and I'm very happy with my decision, all because I took a moment to think about my future and where I wanted to be.*

3.) Don't give yourself more options than you need to.  Like most of us, it's better for me when I have to choose between A and B, than when I have to choose between A, B, C, D, E, F, G, especially when C through G weren't even a part of the decision in the first place.  (Does this make sense?)  For example, if I was applying to schools now I would only apply to maybe 3 or 4 of the colleges I really liked... not the 3 or 4 I really liked then 3 more "just because."  Seriously, it complicates the decision.  Even if I applied to the last three colleges "just because," with no intentions of actually going there, if I got into them on top of my other 3 schools they are all of a sudden a part of my final decision, whether I want them to be or not.  Ultimately, they just serve as a complication to the whole process.
In a simpler example: Think about if you're shopping for a shirt and find 2 shirts that are absolutely adorable.  However, you only have enough money for one.  When you're deciding between the two, you all of a sudden decide to pick a shirt off the rack you think is "kinda cute," too.  Just stick with the originals, and save your time.

4.) Make the decision for you Easier said than done sometimes, but, really, this is your life.  Going back to #2 and seeing your future in a year or two or 5... if you really can't see yourself anywhere else in two years than in California going to film school - then go.  Even if your mom is making you feel guilty because you won't be home for Thanksgiving, or your boyfriend's upset because he's staying home to go to school and he won't see you as much.  Sometimes you need to be a little selfish in your decisions because, ultimately, if you aren't happy in your decision nobody gets the best of you - and anyone who truly loves you will support you, even if it hurts them at first.

5.) Be confident!!!!!  Don't be afraid to make a decision, because not making a decision isn't good either.  Part of my problem with picking my classes for this semester was I was afraid if I dropped a certain class I would miss out on something really cool in that class.  The truth is, I will miss out on something really cool in all of the classes I dropped.  However, because I dropped my one class I'm now in another one where I'm learning really cool things and meeting new people.  That's something I wouldn't have experienced had I kept my other class.

So, in the end, I would say you can't have everything all the time.  Unfortunately, you can't go to every college on your wish list, or be in every class that meets at the same time.  So, when you make a decision, make it, and don't look back. 

Sometimes, decisions will lead you where you wish you hadn't gone - but all of the time the decisions you make will take you down a path you wouldn't have traveled had you chosen something else.

Now I ask you: Are you bad at making decisions, too?  How do you make a decision and know it's the right one for you?



  1. I have always been very strongly determined personality and making decicions has always been very easy for me generally. But interesting writing and good points :)

  2. If I have trouble making a decision, I think to myself "will it kill me if I make the wrong the choice?" If the answer is no, I'll just pick the easiest one.

  3. @Amethyst - that's good to hear you don't share my problem. I'm getting better, thankfully!

    @Addman - That's great advice - unfortunately sometimes it's not so easy to tell which one is the easier choice.

  4. I can relate to everything you said, those are very good points and good advices :) personally I have always applied #2, it always works for me.