I am 22-years old and people consider the 20+ people “adults”. My god, that word used to terrify me and to be honest: I still feel like a sixteen year-old sometimes. Growing up is fun, it’s an adventure but all the decisions and situations can be quite scary. I’ll be talking you through growing up and the hard stuff that may cross your path! Let’s grab a cup of coffee (or tea) because this week we’re talking about the college decision.
This time of year is usually when people start applying for colleges or either start to think about what they want and where they want to go. I’m not sure how the college (decision) process works worldwide, you might already have started the early applications or you may just started looking at the colleges and available studies. Here in the Netherlands, you usually start to think about college in your junior year of high school. At least, that’s what I did. Let’s talk about my college decision experience: ‘cause it was quite a big deal for me.
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To begin with, I’m someone who always used to plan her life ahead. So evidently, I already knew where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study when I was years away from graduating high school. Funny enough, after experiencing one day at the school and following practice classes at the specific study: I realized it was completely the opposite of what I wanted.
Obviously, I panicked because what was I going to do with my life? Let me explain a bit about the application decision process here in the Netherlands. The deadline for the upcoming semester is May 1st, so you’ll need to have made your decision by this time otherwise you won’t be able to attend a college in September. I found out that the study I was originally planning on doing wasn’t me at the beginning of March. This means I only had about a month and a half to re-orientate. So I went to different colleges, and visited different lectures about different studies and I eventually decided to go with my current study: Tourism Management. I’ll write a more in depth blog post about my study later!
So all in all, I managed to get to the place where I wanted to go even though it costed me several grey hairs and I think I’ve aged five years during that one and a half month. But why do we stress so much about making the right decision? Obviously, college and going to university is a big deal. And I feel like, at least I felt like this and I know many others do to, is that you need to make the right decision straightaway otherwise you won’t get where you want to go in life.
Let me tell you, that’s not the case. We have so much pressure of making the right decision and knowing what we want to do in life. I was 18/19 when I went to college, and that’s even quite a bit older than other people. What do you know about life when you’re 16, 17, 18 or 19 years old? Even now, at 22, I am just starting to find out what I want to do in life. So how are you supposed to know what you exactly want to do in life at that age? Your college decision doesn’t define your life, even though it may feel like that.
You can always change your decision, and it may cost you two years of your life: but it’s so much more important to study something you love and just take those two years as two years where you’ve learned a lot about yourself and life. Sometimes you have to make a “wrong” decision to find out where you’re supposed to go. Don’t rush life. Think about what will make you happy. Every decision you make in life will create your future, but it will definitely not DEFINE your future. It’s the process of you shaping your life.
In making that college decision, I tried to find a balance between what I loved in the study programme and the job opportunities you have after you’ve graduated. Now obviously, it’s best if you like your study and “enjoy” that time but if I could give some advice, don’t focus only at the study programme but look at your job opportunities. The study may not be a 100% you, but if you love the job opportunities: it may be worth it.
Don’t take this college decision process too seriously, don’t overthink it. It doesn’t completely define your life. There’s so much more in life than college and university. If you’re not sure: don’t make a decision yet and re-orientate. Listen to your heart and you’ll get where you want to go!