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This Week I went Back To High School At 20 Years Old, But This Time It Was Different

Now is the time to explore, do your research, and really invest yourself in all the opportunities life has to offer.

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This Week I went Back To High School At 20 Years Old, But This Time It Was Different
Mariel Loughlin

Two years ago, I sat in the office of one of my high school professors looking for guidance and help. It was April 28 and I had three days to finalize where I was going to college before decision day. My professor was experienced in the field I was looking into going into (dance science) and had been with me throughout the college process as I searched and searched for the "perfect" school. We talked through it. The pros and the cons, the positives and the negatives. I was stuck between Elon and Ohio State (yes, I know they are complete opposites). We talked through it for hours, and I was pretty set on Ohio State.

However on May 1, even after hours of convincing myself Ohio State was the school for me, I picked Elon. At that time, it felt like the biggest decision of my life. I thought it would be the hardest decision I would have to make. Little did I know that I was wrong, and I would need to make many, many more decisions in my life. This was the first of many.

Two years later, this week I sat in the same office with the same professor. It sort of was like deja vu. She still had the same posters on the wall, except this time, I was talking to her confused about whether to pursue physical therapy or orthopedics. We talked it through and thought of the pros and cons, similar to what I did two years earlier when I was deciding between schools. Still with the same worry, stress, and concentration I had in high school. However, this time it was okay that I didn't know right away and there was something reassuring about that.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to know exactly what we want to do. We want to know the outcome of every decision before we make it, but reality is, there is no way of really knowing where one decision will take you until you go through with it. That's why decision making is so hard. There is no guarantee. Maybe some of the pros and cons of Elon I made before decision day were correct, but there were many different factors I didn't get to think of until I made my decision and was experiencing it in person at Elon. Again, at that time that decision seemed like the biggest one and it worked out. It would have worked out either way, regardless of where I decided to spend my next four years of education.

Something that stuck out to me that my professor told me back when I was 18 and now when I'm 20 is that "nothing is permanent." Life is scary and overwhelming and especially when you are in your early 20s and you think you are "expected" to make a decision that will determine every outcome and part of your life for the next 60 years like declaring THE best major, interning with THE top company or facility, and investing your money THE most responsible way for that specific thing your supposed to know that you want to do. How are you supposed to make a decision now knowing how you will feel in 60 years? You need to make that decision eventually, but that doesn't mean you can't change it.

Really, say you don't like what you are doing in ten years and that's what every part of your life has been up until that moment. You are at the peak of your career but for some reason you aren't happy with your career. It is okay to get up and move to a new city and start over. It is okay to go back to school, change paths and start again. It is scary, but nothing tells you that you can't do it. You have control over it. And that is why I felt that feeling of reassurance that I hadn't two years earlier because I realize the honesty behind that statement now.

I thought I was set on what I wanted to do, but reality is that there is so much more that I didn't know about everything I could do, and I still do not know exactly what I want to do and have accepted that is ok. I don't want to become complacent or settle for the rest of my life on something I thought I was going to do when I was 15 just because. Now is the time to explore, do your research, and really invest yourself in all the opportunities life has to offer and see everything that you can do because trust me, YOU will figure it out.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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