A guide to ambiguous college decisions
My visit to Concordia began and ended with little drama. I talked to people, I toured the buildings, I observed people doing college things. The day was entirely normal, which was the issue.
I got coffee with my mom and contemplated and went for a quick run and contemplated more and ultimately continued living my life.
After a while, I decided to accept Concordia University Nebraska into my life. It was about the spring of my junior year. For me, it was because of my major. There were few colleges that offered a quality English as a Second Language program, and Concordia was one that was not ridiculously expensive, and conveniently located in not Hawaii.
When I would tell Concordia alum and some of my own friends why I made the decision to go there, they had the tendency to ask me with wide eyes and bated breath, “Didn’t it just feel like home?”
It did not. It did not feel like anything.
As an ardent lover of pros and cons lists, Freakonomics, and the phrase, “based on past experiences," the notion of choosing a college based on how it made you feel really perplexed me. There was no reason! There was no system! I felt simultaneously justified and unjustified in my college decision. Justified because I felt I had logic on my side, unjustified because I did not have this P(S)aul on his way to Damascus type revelation that everyone was speaking of.
So, I thought, and I concluded that people are diverse enough to make decisions using a variety of methods. Crazy, I know.
Maybe you’re like me and you’re choosing a college based on what you believe to be logical reasons. When I was making my college decision, my main goal was to be an ESL teacher and work overseas. I had a clear picture of what I wanted my future to look like, and in my mind, Concordia was the most logical way to get there.
Despite what I might want to think, this absolutely could change. I could have arrived at Concordia and realized that I hated teaching, (has not happened yet, I will keep you posted) or that there were better opportunities for me somewhere else. We can use logic and reason as a means to get to the ends we want, but sometimes those ends change.
Maybe you don’t really have a specific plan going into college, but you visit, and you like the campus and the people, and truly, you just want to be a part of it.
This can also change. Although there are lovely people at every college, you might eventually find that your goals and aspirations don’t align with the university or the community you’re surrounded by. Emotions are also important in making college considerations, but let me tell you, those also change a lot during college.
Essentially, you can make your college decision in the way you are comfortable. But saying that you have made the absolute right decision when these big decisions and changes in life occur can be pretty limiting.
The summer before my freshman year of high school, my family moved from Michigan to Missouri. It all seemed very sudden. The high school I was planning on going to was such a big part of my life. My dad taught there, my siblings went there, and attending high school basketball games and plays was a staple activity in my house. I already knew a lot of the teachers, coaches, and I had a vague outline of a friend group. When we decided to move, my future at that school, so seemingly meticulous in the making was gone.
The high school I attended in Missouri had a sizable percentage of international students, and during the summer of my sophomore year, I went on choir tour in Europe. These opportunities I had to connect with people from other cultures made me realize that I wanted to be able to help people to make these connections. It was then that I decided I wanted to teach English as a Second Language.
I was truly on the cusp of living an entirely different life. My life in Michigan had all the trappings of being happy and successful, but for whatever reason, the fabric of my life changed.
However you make the big decisions of your life, or perhaps, have the big decisions made for you, do not limit yourself to simply what appears to be the right choice. Our brains are a maze of discovered and undiscovered passions, aspirations, and talents. The world is similarly complex. It is honorable to bloom where you’re planted, but please do not believe you are incapable of growing anywhere else.