Making My First Big Decision

By Marais Jacon-Duffy on September 15, 2013
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"The choices we make dictate who we are.” I don’t remember who said that, but I’m pretty sure it was from a movie, and knowing my track record, it probably had Adam Sandler in it.

Up until this point I have not been responsible for any real, major decisions regarding myself or my life.

Where I’ve gone to school, what sports I’ve participated in, where I work, who I hang out with and date, even what classes I’ve taken have all been approved, if not chosen, by my parents.

So when it came time for me to make one decision for myself (where to go to college), I freaked out. I didn’t know what atmosphere made me feel most comfortable. I didn’t know what level of selectivity I wanted my school to have. I didn’t know what I, with help from my parents, could afford in student loans.

People told me my whole life that I will just know when I find the right college. Well, the angels haven’t came down from the sky singing hallelujah, and none of the schools have planted in their front lawn big, Vegas-style signs that say “Marais, this is your dream school!!”

I guess, then, that I am left nothing to help me decide where to go to school. This one is all on me; and I can’t afford to screw up.

My top priorities

The first step, I figured, was to decide what is most important in my life. Instantly, I thought of my big, loud and obnoxious family, whom I love. I really cannot picture myself going more than a week without seeing my family (maybe two), so obviously I have to pick a college that is close to my home.

In addition to my family there’s another person I know I can’t leave behind, only he is going to be much harder to stay close to. My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half, and although I know it sounds cliche, I don’t want to go to a school too far away from him.

Unfortunately, his college decision won’t be made until the early spring, or “signing season.” He plays football, and is basing his decision mostly on where scholarship offers come from and the opportunities he will receive at each school, both on and off the field.

I promised myself that I would not compromise closeness to home merely to be with him. While he is important to me, the advice I’ve heard time and time again from teachers, family, etc., is to never settle or compromise for a boyfriend.

There are a few schools, however, that I have found to be very interested in him, and that fit my basic criteria for a school. I’ve looked into, even applied to, some of these schools.

In the same case as my family, I feel like a college far from him, no matter how spectacular or perfect, would cause me more misery than any college experience is worth.

Wanted: Journalism program

All that’s left for me to assess is “what do I want in a college itself?” Obviously, I need a journalism degree from a decent school if I hope to work for ESPN or ABC News some day. A few schools I’ve been interested in claim to have top journalism programs with international study programs, and amazing internship opportunities.

College is supposed to be for enhancing knowledge, after all. It’s amazing how many schools don’t even offer the major I’m interested in, and I’m not even hoping to study something even slightly exotic.

College should be a choice made by the individual attending college. If you find yourself complaining, like I do, that no one is telling you what you should do, stop for a minute and actually recognize why it is that this decision is being left up to you.

About the Author

Marais Jacon-Duffy

Marais Jacon-Duffy

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