Liberal Arts and Sciences

Making choices

What are you going to study? What are you going to do for your masters? What do you want to become when you grow up?

These are questions that we hear all the time and sound so simple. However, often times you might struggle very much with answering and respond with: I do not know (yet). You may find it difficult to make a decision with regards to your studies. The main reason for this struggle is that you want to make the right decision and it feels like there is no way back after you decided. This one decision determines all of your success and achievements in life. We ask ourselves: what will our future look like, where are we going to end up? Furthermore, you can feel overwhelmed by the incredible amount of different options and this hinders you in making an actual decision. After you picked something you are interested in, you can still have the feeling that you did not consider all the options extensively, and so you spend another night surfing the internet without any result. Also, you may find it difficult to really know ourselves and what we are interested in. Sometimes you underestimate your skills and think that you cannot do certain things. This probably makes you feel scared or not good enough. As a result, you pick something that is within your comfort zone or we do not make a decision at all. You have high expectations of yourself and feel pressure with regards to making a decision. Everything you do needs to be fun and should constantly satisfy your expectations and those surrounding you. There is pressure from your environment or at least you think there is,  believe that your parents or friends have certain expectations of what you should become later in life. Finally, people tell you to listen to your heart and follow your passion. The only thing you can think of is: how I am supposed to do that?

All of these points illustrate how stress is built up with respect to decision-making. Does all of this sound familiar to you? Well, that is good because it is something we all struggle with and making choices is something that will follow us throughout our lives. All aspects of decision-making that have been discussed earlier are difficult to change. Even though you prepare yourself very well, making a choice is still a step into the dark. You do not know how your future is going to look in one or five years. There are so many grownups that only find out what they really like after many different jobs and positions. It is therefore impossible to be a hundred percent sure that you have made the right decision, even though you want this so badly. For all students that have to decide for their bachelor, master, gap year or something else: every choice you make is okay! Think about what is important for you in making a decision, do you decide out of personal interest or what others think you should become? Making a study choice is definitely important, but it is not the case that you cannot go back .Therefore, do not try to control something that is not in your power. Embrace the dark and see where the path you decided to take will bring you.

– Marieke van Beek (third year student of UCG)

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