Student Guide: Making the Right Decisions
“Life is a sum of all your choices,” mused a famous author and philosopher. The thought that we’re building our life one decision at a time reinforces the need to make good decisions. However, for many of us, the only thing we’re consistently decisive about is avoiding decisions.
While it’s much easier to let someone else make the decisions for us, or to tell us what to do, as young adults, that choice has to ultimately be made by us. Standing at crossroads in life with schooling and career decisions ahead of us may seem daunting, or even terrifying, but the freedom to choose our own destiny is priceless.
After years of pouring time and energy into required schooling, you may feel you’re not up to the challenge of deciding which post-secondary course to take. Maybe you feel like taking a gap year. Or, you may be eager to jump right into the working world to start making money. How can you make the right decision for yourself? Instead of stressing about the choices that lie ahead, consider eight ways you can improve your decision making.
8 Ways You Can Improve Your Decision Making
1) Talk To Others
Take time to speak to guidance counselors, mentors or tutors to gather information. Don’t forget to talk to family and friends to get suggestions and advice. Ask them, “What am I good at? What career do you think I will excel at?” Don’t make decisions based solely on what your friends are doing, but be open to suggestions. Resist asking others to tell you what to do, or what they would do in your shoes. The truth is, no one else really knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. Your goal in talking to others is to gain knowledge that will help YOU make your own decisions.
It might sound like a lot of extra work, but conducting research will pay off. Visit open days at colleges and universities, and even at different businesses. Take part in campus tours, and check out career centers and libraries. Explore college and university web sites to learn about the types of courses available and the length of the programs, especially if you’re anxious to begin a job as soon as possible. Some courses are streamlined and don’t take as long to complete as others.
Spending time to support a worthy cause or to offer assistance to underprivileged members of the society can help you see qualities or traits within yourself that you may want to continue nurturing, even when earning a living. Perhaps, a career in healthcare, hospitality, or teaching could be a good fit for your personality.
Don’t ignore the type of person you are. You can excel at whatever you choose to do as long as you are passionate about it. Ask yourself, “What do I really like to do? What am I really interested in? Do I get bored easily? Do I work better on my own or in a group?” The answers to this kind of honest self-evaluation will help you choose a career that best suits your personality.
5) Keep Your Doors Open
If deciding on a school, a program, and a career all at once is overwhelming, consider taking courses that would allow you to work in various fields or industries, such as business management. Look for programs with credits that are transferable should you decide to continue your education.
6) Weigh The Pros & Cons
Have you decided on a couple of colleges, courses and career options? Before you commit to stick to one field, take out your yellow legal pad and make a list of the pros and cons of each. This will give you a clearer picture of your choices and consequently, make it much easier for you to decide between them.
7) Don’t let stress weigh you down
Often in the rush to make the right decision in the face of too many options, you may find yourself stressing a lot more than usual. Try not to let that get the better of you. Stress can hamper your ability to judge correctly and you may end up choosing a college or a course that just isn’t right for you. So take a deep breath and then think about making a decision.
8) Take A Break
For some, taking time off to reflect on their choices helps them to deal with big decisions. A gap year can give you time to learn about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. Travelling to other lands can open your mind and expand your horizons. Experiencing other cultures can broaden your viewpoint. Realize, though, that eventually, you will have to make a decision, so keep that fact in mind as you explore the world.
It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed in the face of decision making. But remember that deep down, your instincts know exactly what’s right for you. All you’ve got to do is clear your head, follow the tips listed above and let the better part of your mind take over so you can choose well, without any regrets.
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