I have recently realized how important and beneficial collaboration and discussion can be. I’ve read numerous studies and research papers that support the idea of student collaboration and working with others as valuable. I am in no way saying that I never asked for help or for opinions before; “How does this look?” and “What do you think?” were a frequent part of my vocabulary. However, these questions usually did not require much more than a yes or no answer.
Even in school, growing up, I was very content on doing assignments alone and making decisions by myself. And forget going to professors’ office hours during college; until my senior year of undergrad, I never met with classmates or teachers outside of class unless it was for a group project or a mandatory meeting. I love hanging out with people and talking, but when it comes to life decisions, I was always one to try and fare it alone.
This decision affects no one but me, so I need to be able to figure it out alone. I won’t always have close friends or family to help me through these situations, so I need to be able to talk myself through the pros and cons of every decision.
I always felt like no one understood my situation so they couldn’t possibly give me sound advice. On top of that, everyone else has their own problems and lives to deal with; why should I burden them with my problems and my life? So I simply kept my mental battles inside and didn’t reach out to others for help. I actually have documentation of this: I have about 7 journals filled with my internal battles; some that I still have not shared with anyone. I was even hesitant to ask my mom for advice many times because I didn’t want to be the one who needs her mommy to make all her decisions for her; it’s like having her cut up my food into bite-sized pieces.
Realizing that people do actually care and want to help was eye opening.
Through my friends and classmates in undergrad and grad school, I have realized how truly beneficial talking things out can be; doing this is helpful not only for school assignments but also for life decisions. It’s so easy to get stuck in one point of view (your own) and see no way other than that…unless you talk to others. Even saying your problem out loud can open your ears and eyes to a whole new perspective that you may not have realized otherwise.
And I’ve learned that discussing movies and books is a thing that takes place outside of clubs; like, you don’t simply watch a movie and deal with it internally or talk about how hot the actors/actress were or how cool the action scenes were. Actually discussing the plots and characters in-depth as if they were real is something that I never took part in. It has really allowed me to better understand and think about books, characters, television shows, etc. How has it taken me so long to do this?
And as much as we hate admitting it, our parents and other significant adults in our lives know a thing or two about life; they’ve been around a bit longer than we have and can teach us a lot. As long as we’re willing to listen…
So to all of you whom I have confided life-altering decision-making problems – thank you. Huge thanks to my mom for putting up with my moodiness because I didn’t want to tell her stuff but wanted to all at the same time. Without your help, I probably would not be where I am today. I am still working on being more open (within reason, obviously) and less prideful about my problems and internal struggles, so bear with me.
How do you go about making difficult decisions? Do you write it all out pro/con style? In a diary? Magic 8 Ball? Do you have a best friend that you share anything and everything with? Let me know, I would love to hear how you cope!