If there’s one unavoidable facet of human nature, it’s that everyone has an opinion on everything. This part of our matrix makes for lively discussions and heated arguments, but it also means our advice is soaked in the flawed complexion of the human opinion. Getting advice from someone you trust is an essential way to round out your views and enhance your understanding, but sometimes unsolicited opinions can make a decision a lot more confusing.
Discussing the college admissions process is certainly an opinion-evoker. From family friends to the guy sitting next to you on the airplane, many people will offer up opinion disguised as advice even when you didn’t ask them to. These opinions can be helpful, but I found that more often they did nothing but hurt. From one person to the next everyone seemed to “know” exactly what I needed to do or where I needed to go, but often this advice would be in diametric opposition to the next person’s. Every time I would hear someone say that it’s great to stay in-state, a few other people would chime in wondering why I wouldn’t get as far away as possible. I was being pulled in all directions and I didn't know how to stop it.
Not only was their advice confusing, but many people were ignorant about the college admissions process as a whole. They didn’t seem to realize the nuance that goes into picking a school, or how harmful their commentary could be. From financial aid, acceptances or rejections, campus size, school rank, individual programs, etc., there are a lot of factors that play into a final school decision and many of them do not need to be aired for public consumption. You don’t owe anyone the rights to your decision-making. After all, you’re the one who will live with the school you choose — not them.
When I finally decided to clear my head of preconceived notions and fear of judgement, I ended up falling in love with a school I swore I would never attend. I knew I picked the best place for me, yet many people were unsupportive and downright dismissive of my choice. But because I made my decision for myself, and knew it was absolutely right, nothing anyone said bothered me.
So forget everyone else’s opinions. Now is the time for self-examination. It’s time for introspection and realization and exploration. Right now is the time for you. Only you know what will make you happiest, and in the end the decision has to be yours. So take what others say at face value and continue coming to your own conclusions. It’s all the sweeter to know you were able to wade through the muck and find yourself — and your school — at the end.
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