Life is the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure game. Every once in a while a cool adventure falls into our lap just by a strike of luck. However, the majority of time we have to make deliberate decisions in life that create the adventure we go on. We live and die by the decisions we make in life. You can make one smart decision and go from unknown Souncloud rapper to topping the Billboard charts. You can make one bad decision and go from happy family to separated living out the trunk of your car. Decisions are the fork in the road that changes not only our destination but the path we take to get there. It’s our approach to decision-making that shows in the results we achieve in life. Even if we don’t make one big, perfect decision, a lot of small, good decisions can prove very effective.
The problem is many of us aren’t great at decision-making. The way we learn to get better at decision-making is the way we learn most everything else in life. Trial and error. We make the decision to put our finger on the hot stove. We get burned and start crying. Next time we see a hot stove we might make a better decision. Except there’s so many different things that prohibit us from learning that well. There’s temptations, misinformation, and peer-pressure as just a couple that hinder us. We end up making decisions with a lot more factors involved as we grow. We want to impress our friends. We want to be immediately gratified. We use information that isn’t always accurate. And one of the biggest factors on our decisions is time. We often make quick decisions without thinking them through. That can be great or really bad depending on the situation. What’s a quick decision you once made that changed your life?
Here’s a short story on a quick decision that I once made that changed my life.
Growing up I’ve always been a little blissfully ignorant. I remember being in eleventh grade of highschool and figuring out what a GPA was for the first time. It was the most shockingly horrendous revelation of my teen years. Of course I understood that you get graded for how well you did in each class. I was high-achieving student that always aimed for “A’s”. Throughout elementary and middle school I did my absolute best to get the highest grade possible on everything. Even if it was a little five point extra credit assignment, I was going to go all out. But by the time I reached highschool my mentality completely shifted. All the other kids that barely passed with “C’s” were still in the same class with me getting passed through to the next grade.
I was working ten times harder and got little to no recognition for it. Highschool Tim decided to put his foot down. I was tired of working hard to get the best grades while others barely skated by each year. So I started doing the bare minimum amount of work. I turned the assignments that were necessary and passed up on all the extra stuff. I studied just enough to pass the test and never picked up my school books again. And it was all working out well for me… until eleventh grade. I went to a mandatory counselor meeting and had to talk post graduation stuff. It was already the end of the eleventh grade school year, so it was really a talk about twelfth grade. And the conversation was all happy go lucky until she said I wouldn’t have many college options because of my GPA. She explained to me how colleges chose the students they accepted and it was like a brick hit me in the face.
That stupid little number was pretty much the single most important number of my entire education career. Maybe my parents, teachers, and friends failed me by not explaining that concept to me earlier. Or maybe I’ve just always been selective about the things that I chose to understand. A couple years later and the blissful ignorance had returned. I recovered that dodgy GPA as much as I could in my senior year but I was no miracle worker. I found myself accepted in my second choice university by the skin of my teeth. My first choice, Georgia Tech, was one of those places where all the students knew the point of a GPA since they were in kindergarten. I guess I missed that bandwagon. But when it came time to get ready for college well I was pretty lost. I didn’t have the first clue about what to do or how to do it.
So I got help from my mom. I think she loves education more than anything else in the world. She told me I had to write this essay, apply to FAFSA this, and complete registration that. I had no idea what all this busywork stuff was and I didn’t really care. I did all these forms, and letters, and applications. And lo’ and behold I became an official student of Kennesaw State University. They didn’t have the exact degree program that I wanted but I found something that would work. It was a lot fun. I enjoyed my new found independence. I would stay up late playing video games while eating chicken tenders and fries. I would show up to the classes I really liked and skip out the ones that seemed unecessary. And I would meet cool people to hang out with on my days off.
But most of the classes felt a little unecessary. I was taking a first year class that was all about random first year stuff. We just talked about the campus and went on weird scavenger hunts. I took an online class about theatre that was tedious and a walking contradiction. We didn’t do one play or theater related activity together. I had to take a class on grammar and language arts one of my least favorite subjects. It was just that much more annoying because I was fresh out of highschool learning all the same exact things. I wasn’t impressed with the things I was learning. And then one day, I logged in to my portal and saw how much money I owed for my last two semesters. It was nearly eight thousand dollars for a handful of courses that I really wasn’t passionate in. And just like that I made a quick decision.
I decided to drop out of college in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t because college was a waste of time. It wasn’t because it sounded cool and I read stories of billionaires dropping out. It was simply because I saw the price I was paying for my college education. I thought my mom, or a grant, or anyone else was paying for it. When my mom explained to me that I took loans out in MY name to pay for this “education”, I knew exactly what I had to do. I’m too frugal and value driven for college. The price I was paying, eight thousand dollars, for a year of standard education was not worth the value I was getting, in my eyes. Maybe if I was in my degree courses, I would of been more excited and invested but that price was just too steep to pay. And that quick decision has since changed my life. It forced me to find ways to make money on my own and follow a path that is more aligned with my passions.
College is a great resource if you learn well in that environment and more importantly if you can afford it. For me, neither was true. But I’ll always love and respect KSU!