During our young adult lives, there are many decisions to be made. It starts with selecting a college, then major, possibly an internship, job/grad school for after graduation, and whether or not to relocate. The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. Yes, this is a sea of opportunity, but it can also be overwhelming.
Throughout my lifetime I have been notorious for being indecisive. Even a simple decision, such as what to have for dinner is something I toggle with. The larger decisions have historically been even more difficult for me. I believe I dragged my mom with me to 12 different colleges before finally flipping a coin and choosing UMD (yes, it was the best decision ever!). During my time, I have narrowed down a recipe as to how I make decisions. No, it’s not perfect, but here is what I have learned.
STEP 1: ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE AT
This is the starting point of the process when it is realized that a decision needs to be made. First, start out by taking inventory of the current situation. Where are you at in life and where do you hope to go? Make a pros and cons list. Draft out ideas. Let the creativity and brainstorming flow!
STEP 2: SEEK HELP FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Talk to a few trusted individuals who know you and the situation well. Explain the situation and listen to their advice. They may have an outside perspective. Oftentimes, close friends and family may be able to point out something you may not be able to see. Additionally, they may prompt you with questions that will help to open up to other ideas.
STEP 3: SEEK NEUTRAL HELP
Depending on the nature of your situation, it may also be appropriate to schedule an appointment with us, at UMD Career & Internship Services. I have done this countless times when navigating planning my career path. I am sure I will do it countless more times as I approach graduation and the numerous decisions that come with this stage of life.
UMD also has free counseling sessions (for students) through Health Services. They often will work with students on decision-making issues. Check it out if you feel it is appropriate for you.
STEP 4: TRUST YOURSELF
This being said, it is important to trust your gut. At the end of the day, it is your life and your decision to make! Know that the weight of whatever decision is being faced, big or small, is something that can be handled. Take other input like a grain of salt. Take advice and tips that fit YOU, disregard the rest.
STEP 5: USE RESOURCES
Once I diagnosed this reoccurring struggle in my life, I looked into some resources. Books, podcasts, YouTube videos – you name it, I probably have checked it out. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
- Big Dreams, Daily Joys: Set Goals. Get Things Done. Make Time for what Matters by Elise Cripe
- The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay
At the end of the day – it is crucial to own what is decided. The best advice I have ever gotten is simply to “just make a decision, don’t turn back, and make the most of it along the way”. I think you will find that it is not about the decision made, instead, it is about making the most of whatever you decide to do and not looking back.
Of Possible Interest:
• The Grass Isn’t Always Greener, But You Should Check Anyway
• Don’t Overthink It preview on the What Should I Read Next? podcast
• Productivity & Wellness – all our blog posts on the topic