Making choices for yourself

By Shae Slaughter | 9/6/17 10:57pm

From the moment we’re born, it seems like we’re in a huge rush to grow up. When we’re toddlers, we want to learn how to walk; when we’re five, we’re ready to go to school; and when we’re teenagers, we want nothing more than the keys to a car. It’s a repeating game of "ready, set, go" for our whole lives, but doesn’t it sound better to just take our time?

College is a perfect example of the race we’re perpetually in. You’re supposed to get in and get out in four years flat. Sure, that would be nice, but that doesn’t make it realistic for everyone. To graduate in four years, you need to take 15 credits every semester. So, let’s cross your fingers that you don’t have to work full time or want to change your major ever. 

My eldest sister took an untraditional route through college. She didn’t go right out of high school, nor did she go full time. In fact, she is seven years older than I am, and I am set to graduate before she does. The funny thing is that she has a full-time job she loves, a house, a dog and is exactly where she wants to be. So, what’s the rush? Why does she need that degree?

This whole idea circles back to being an adult and life in general. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Don’t let people force you into making hasty and selfless decisions. It’s okay to choose yourself. In fact, I encourage it. I distinctly remember my senior year of high school because I was on track to go to the University of Michigan. I had been accepted and agreed to go when I suddenly realized it wasn’t what I wanted.

When I withdrew my enrollment, I could tell that my family wasn’t thrilled with my decision. I even had a random classmate’s mom tell me I was "throwing my life away." In my head, I was so confused; how could something that felt like the right choice to me be so wrong? The answer was simple: I wasn’t wrong. I may have made a mistake by societal standards, but I picked what was best for me. I chose myself.

This same attitude can be applied not only to schools, but also to many other aspects of life, like relationships. Yikes, right? Let’s all silently nod our heads in agreement for the relationships that we’ve rushed or been pressured into. Don’t get me wrong—you live and you learn, but since you’ve probably already learned, you need not repeat your mistakes. 

Of course, it’s awkward when your Aunt Carol asks you if you’re dating anyone at every family gathering you have. Trust me, I know. That being said, don’t pick some random guy from a frat party to be your new boyfriend if he’s not the right one. You don’t just throw out an "I love you" because it feels like you should. What’s the harm in waiting and doing things when they feel right to you?

College, relationships, marriage, kids: It will all come when it’s supposed to, or it won’t come at all. What do you want? You’re in control, after all. In a world where society guides almost all of our choices, you might as well go against the grain. Forty years down the line, no one will care if you got your degree in four years or if you were married by the time you were 25. Go at your own pace. The rest will follow. 

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