It’s official. I’m literally the most indecisive person in the world.
I’ve never been able to make decisions; I just can’t do it. It took me about 15 minutes to decide what to call this post.
When I was 11 and I had to choose which secondary schools I wanted to apply to, I didn’t have a clue. One minute I’d have my heart set on one school and I’d be determined to go there no matter what, and the next, I’d have changed my mind completely.
The same thing happened when it came to choosing my A Levels when I was 16. As far as I was concerned, any decision I did or did not make automatically seemed to close off as many doorways as it opened. If I didn’t take any of the sciences, I couldn’t be a doctor, or a vet, or a researcher. If I didn’t take Art or Drama or Music, how was I ever going to make the most of any creative potential I may or may not have? I liked the idea of Psychology, but the Sociology syllabus looked really good too. And I’d always thought about taking Religious Studies, but then there was Philosophy. Oh and what about Law? And History? And if I chose History, should I go for the modern option, or something a little more traditional? The only thing I did know was that I wanted to study English, but even then I couldn’t decide between Literature and Language. I thought about opting for Language and Literature combined, but I began to worry about whether a combined course would make me less of a desirable candidate when it came to applying to university.
Unsurprisingly, this crippling indecision hit me once again when it came to submitting my UCAS application. I knew I could only apply to five institutions, so that should have narrowed things down a bit, but all it actually did was make everything much, much harder. 5 choices? I was having a hard time choosing between five subjects, let alone anything else. There was just so much to consider. I had to think about which universities were best academically for which subjects, which were in the best location, which offered the most stimulating syllabus’, nightlife, pastoral support etc., etc. But the problem at the root of it all was that it was nigh on impossible to choose a university when you had absolutely no idea what you wanted to study when you got there.
In the end, out of a combination of pressure – placed on me both by myself and by others – fear, panic, timing restrictions and what I realise now was actually a subconscious desire for security, I opted to study English Literature. It was the one subject I’ve always enjoyed the most and fortuitously, it also happened to be the one I was best at, so I guess you could say it was the obvious choice. But as I’ve already explained, for a person incapable of making decisions, nothing is ever obvious; everything is mixed up with a good old fashioned helping of self-doubt.
Now, nearly 5 months after graduation, I’m faced with a similar problem. I don’t know what to do with my English Literature degree. As I type, I’m torn between pursuing a career in Journalism, and one in Clinical Psychology, two paths that, as I’m repeatedly informed, are both very different and very competitive. It’s not the competitive thing that bothers me though. In fact, it probably has the opposite effect. It could just be because of the excessive ambition and idealism that is all part and parcel of being young (and obstinate), but the instant someone tells me that something is out of my reach, I become all the more determined to get it. Whatever ‘it’ may be.
This afternoon, I attended a Post Graduate open day in the hope that it might go some way to helping me make up my mind. Although it was both interesting and informative, it didn’t really do anything to combat my chronic indecision. In fact, I think I left the lecture theatre with more questions than when I’d entered it.