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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for truth: To decide or not to decide, that is the question

Published: November 2, 2007
Section: Opinions

Choiceso much meaning packed into such a small world. In any given minute, we all must make some choice of some sort. You should know something about me as you read this. I hate choices. Wait a minute, I love choices. Oh, I dont know, I just cant decide! So there you have it- at the same time, I am a girl who loves to decide, yet hates it at the same time.

I think this problem of mine is probably one that a lot of other people have these days. On some levels, its great to have choices. I love to be in control of my own actions and decide what I am going to do. Im very strong-willed and hate it when people tell me what to do. I can decide for myself, people!

But I think we, or at least I, sometimes like the idea of being able to make choices more than the actual act of deciding. Its like when youre planning where to go out with your friends. We all complain that so and so (insert one of your least favorite people here) ALWAYS decides where we go, what well do, and when well do it. So you finally get to the night when that friend just happens to be busy and cant come out (victory!). Its finally comethe day when you can be the one making the decision as to where youll go. But then it happens. Suddenly, youre at a loss for what to do.

Weve all had something like this happen to us. Whether its being at a loss for a sassy comeback in a fight, or suddenly drawing a blank in class when its your time to share your opinion, theres just something about timingand bad timing, in a lot of cases. All along, were ready for something and when the big moment comes, and we choke.

I cant help but think its ironic that we can be so eager to decide and make things happen one moment, and back out the next.

For example, Ive always known what I wanted to do with my life. Whether it was writing short stories as a little girl, or devouring the latest novel, Ive always been a writer. Regardless of what field of writing has called mepoetry, fiction, journalism, or simple journalingIve always written and always wanted to write. In this respect, Ive never needed to decide, because it was almost preordained that I needed to write. But everyday decisions? Ok, Ill just suck it up and admit that I sometimes change my mind almost ten times in deciding what to wear in the morning. As if my choice of wardrobe will drastically change my day or achieve world peace, right? But still, its little decisions like this that haunt me, like what to eat from one trip to the next. I get made fun of for always ordering pretty much the same thingcookie dough, or vanilla soft serve. Maybe its fear of change, maybe its pleasure in the familiar. Do you really want me to have to decide? But what I can say is that deciding is really difficult sometimes.

Now as Im sure that some of you are still contemplating what courses to enroll in for next semester, I thought this might be a little helpful to read. So, yes, its pretty intimidating to sit in front of a computer screen and have so many options. What in the world am I going to take? And what if, (oh my God!) the class I want is already full?

There goes all that hard work deciding! Now its plan B, back to square one.

Now despite the annoying roadblocks we come across like not getting into the class we want, its all for a reason. And no, Im not going to say that its some preordained plan for your life. Who knows, it may as well be. But I think that what we, and I, need to learn to do is to appreciate the choices we have in front of us. Like I said before, as much as I complain about not knowing what to do sometimes, I wouldnt have it any other way, The chance to decide for yourself and not be subject to another person is a great one.

In deciding, we discover ourselves. We can notice the patterns we make (like how I tend to gravitate towards any pink article of clothing!) and learn something about ourselves.

Do you like making choices well ahead of time, or do you always wait till the last minute (admit it, youve pulled quite a few all-nighters already this semester)? What we do and when we decide to do it says a lot about who we are.

So as some of you sit there reading this on your computer screen (tell the truth, you also have the schedule of classes opened in another window) think about it. What does your decision-making pattern say about you? But dont reflect too long, because then all the good courses will be taken.