“It’s Okay To…” An Article for College Students

By Martin Corpus, Ed. by Ashley Potter

In our college years, we often have to make decisions about how we spend our time and our future goals. There will be times that your choices are: “this way or that way, and no in between.” Yet, any decision about how we spend our time and plan for our future may influence the rest of our lives! Not studying for an exam could mean taking an entire class over again, which could mean more loans and possibly an extended college experience. Not planning accordingly for our future career goals could result in a degree we have no use for later in life. These decisions are high stakes. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, don’t panic. Always remember that it’s okay to…

  1. Say, “No.” Saying “No” is acceptable. When your friends ask you to hang out, but you need to study for an exam or write a paper, just say “no.” Even if you are just exhausted from your overwhelmingly busy week, and you need some “me-time,” then turn down that party invite. You might upset some people, others will understand and respect your answer. The one thing to keep in mind here is that pleasing everyone a fool’s errand. It might be difficult, but recognizing and honoring your priorities and personal limits can save you more stress in the end. In the short term, you’ll reduce the potential negative impacts on your future and your mental health!
  2. Take Your Time to Decide. Allow me to share about how taking my time helped me find the right school to finish undergrad. My college experience started in university. After a year and a half at a community college, I was deciding “where would I go next?” I knew I would choose among three different universities to finish my bachelors. I could have made my decision as soon as I knew where I was admitted for transfer. Instead, I took my time with this significant decision and visited the schools I was admitted to, talked with advisors about my major in more detail, and even met some current students at the time who were able to show me around and give me a taste of life at their respective schools. I made my decision to attend UW Bothell, and it was one of the well-thought out decisions I ever made. I received direct admission to the communications program, saved significantly on tuition, and found my place to belong socially among my peers by becoming a peer consultant at the Writing and Communication Center. As I said, if I hadn’t gone through the process of taking my time to decide on a school, I might have gone to the wrong one.
  3. ASK FOR HELP. Trust me, if there’s one thing that I have learned over the years, asking for help is one of the most effective moves you could make. Ask for help from you parents, advisers, professors, close friends, and peers when you are making decisions about what universities to attend, what programs might be suited to your goals, and how to finance your education. Asking for help and advise was especially important for me when I decided to change majors. After I failed an accounting class, I knew that I didn’t want to be a business major anymore. I went to a variety of connections within my network and asked for assistance finding the best possible program for me. We collaborated and brainstormed what my strengths were and where I had the most potential to improve. After sorting through the possibilities together, we concluded that being a communications major was the best thing for me. As I write this, I’m a few months away from finishing a BA in Communications and wouldn’t be able to say so if I had tried to change my major without any input from my peers.
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