What is life but a series of decisions?
When you’re a kid, chances are your parents make the majority of your decisions for you. They decide what preschool you attend, what food you eat and what activities you do. At this point in your life, your parents know best, and letting them be in charge of every aspect of your life is basically the only option. And that’s fine. A five year old can’t make informed decisions about their life and future.
As you transition into teenagerdom, you gradually get more and more freedom. You’re allowed to stay out later, pick your own clothes, choose your extracurriculars. You get to pick what you do with your spare time, and what you’re going to watch on Netflix next. You’re still taken care of, but you’re beginning to master your own destiny.
And then it happens. You are an adult. All of a sudden, you have a hundred responsibilities. You have to buy groceries. You have to file your taxes. You have to buy toilet paper. And you have to decide what you’re going to do next. While no decision is completely irreversible, the fact remains that the school you choose to go to will have an effect on the rest of your life.
Is your best friend going to a small liberal arts college out East, but you want a larger campus? Does your significant other want to move to another state, but you aren’t feeling the state flower? Do your parents want you to continue their Ivy League legacy when you think you’d be better suited at a trade school? Chances are, if you choose to do what your friends and loved ones think that you should do despite what your heart tells you, you may end up in a situation that you aren’t entirely happy with. You can’t make decisions based on what other people want, or what they think you should do. When you’re dealing with the big things in life, you need to look out for your own interests, lest you end up walking a path that you aren’t happy with.
Why invest years of your life and thousands of dollars on an education that you aren’t crazy about? Think of all of the essays you’ll have to write, the research you’ll have to undertake, and the hours you’ll have to sit in lectures? If you aren’t passionate about the subject that you are studying, getting your education won’t be worth it.
The fact of the matter is that you have plenty of time. Just because the rest of the country is college-bound and following the American dream doesn’t mean that is where you should be headed. If you don’t feel as though, at the ripe age of 18 and fresh out of high school, you are ready to commit to a formal education, then don’t. There is no rule saying that you have to go to school right away. Ain’t no rule that says a monkey can’t play baseball.
In all honesty, moving out on your own and working for a year or so may do you a bit of good. It can offer you a perspective that you won’t be able to attain otherwise. Traveling is always another option. If you don’t have the money to spend on a trip abroad, borrow it. You will always have time to pay it back. On that note, you’ll always have time to go back to school later on in life as well. If you don’t want to go to school until your mid-twenties, you don’t have to. If you don’t end up at school until you are getting your senior’s discount, it’s not a big deal. It’s your life.
When it comes down to it, don’t do anything just because everyone else is doing it. To quote the only poem of Robert Frost’s that pop culture has appropriated:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”