So, it’s just under three weeks until college starts up again and I’ve landed myself in a spot of bother. More so inconvenience as opposed to bother but it’s still something I need to figure out all the same. Each life decision you make will in turn affect you in the future. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Decisions I’ve made in the last year have now affected me in present time and left me with some tough choices to make.
For those of you who don’t know, I am in fact a college student. Albeit just about, but a college student nonetheless! I’m currently studying English and History in my local university, where I am about to enter into my third year. My college journey began in a completely different direction though. The Leaving Cert had just finished (our state exams before we go to university) and I was left with decisions I wasn’t ready to make. It’s bizarre to think we’re left with such a big decision, at such a young age, that affects our lives so drastically in the future. English was always my best subject in school, this was never in doubt. For some unknown reason though, I decided it would be a great idea to choose Sotware Development and Computer Networking instead of a more reasonable English degree. Thinking back now, I genuinely can’t tell you why I thought this would be a good idea. I had little to no experience with this field, apart from being able to use a laptop and playing endless amounts of PlayStation. Maybe it was the fact of moving to another city, living by myself, expeirencing new things or thinking I could rule the world with a knowledge of programming that lured me in. When in reality, it was probably the fact that I got a disappointing result in my final school year and panicked into choosing a course I had no idea about, just to keep friends and family happy.
This decision, in turn, led to me deciding to make another huge decision. Dropping out of the course after one year. It’s safe to say I never take the easy options in life! I had scrapped through the first semester, but once second semester began it all started to catch up. I was doing a course that I struggled with intensely and really did not enjoy it. As the middle-to-end of the college year approached, I found myself attending college less and less, to the point where I didn’t go at all. I wasn’t enjoying any moment of my new college experience and looking back now, it was the unhappiest I had ever felt. The majority of my time was spent sitting in my room. I had friends but barely socialised and found myself doing less and less each day. All to the unawareness of my parents, who I was too frightened to tell. They were after spending all this money on me to attend college after all. The fear of disappointment plagued my mind, so I played it off as if everything was OK. Another decision I clearly regretted. I mean if I had told them straight away, I could have changed courses and things would have been less hassle. But as I’ve said, I don’t tend to make the easy decisions.
Where did this leave me? Fixing the wrongs. It was getting to the stage where I could have ended up never going back to college. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted, so I decided to make the right decision. I enjoyed the three months of summer, and come September I was back in college. I reapplied to the CAO in those months off and was lucky enough to earn a place in my current degree course, English and History. I haven’t looked back since. The course is fantastic and I’m enjoying the college experience I once thought was hell.
Fast forward two and a half years, and another decision to make. Did I learn from my mistakes? Not exactly. The first two years of my new course were great. I was flying through the exams, earning good grades, and genuinely loving everything about English and History. During the start of my second year, I found myself having to make another decision. Cooperative education was part of my course and it took place in the second semester of second year. You were given the opportunity to work at home or go abroad. Clearly I thought the better option was to go abroad. And so I did. I jetted off to sunny Barcelona for six months. It was by far the best experience of my life to date. I experienced a new culture, found a new passion and made friends for life. It’s an experience I’ll never forget or regret. This sounds great doesn’t? Yes, but unfortunately it has left me in an awkward situation. The beginning of my third year is the start of Erasmus. Something that is compulsory in my degree. Although, the option to appeal is viable. Erasmus consists of one semester or two semesters abroad, depending on which you prefer, studying topics similar to your chosen degree. It’s a chance to live in a new country and study in a different environment to what you’re used to back home. The only problem is that I’ve just experienced this, take away the study part, for six months.
It’s left me thinking, do I really want to go away again? I know this may sound bizarre to most people, but hear me out. The idea of travelling appeals to me. I love going to see different countries and exploring new cultures. But at this present time, I feel it’s not right for me to go abroad again. The experience of Barcelona has left me unemployed, which is the only downfall from the journey. But it also left me with a love for running. As you all know, athletics is a big influence in my life. It’s something that I also have a lot of potential in. Potential to be really good. When I returned from Spain to Ireland, I joined a new group and new coaches. The transition from one to the other was something that took time to adjust too. It wasn’t easy. Athletics is a sport built off of consistency. For me to go abroad again for half a year would mean changing coaches and a new training approach again. Not only that, but I would have to adjust to climate, diet and training methods. Then, once my Erasmus is finished, I would find myself having to do the exact same thing upon returning home to Ireland. Far from ideal. The coaches I currently have in Ireland are fantastic. Eventhough I’ve only been with them for a short period of time, I can tell they’re right for me. I love their approach to training and can see myself improving immensely with their guidance. I mean they did just take a member of our group to a fourth place finish in an Olympic hurdles final, which is added insurance to my thinking! The chance of getting a job here is also a lot greater if I stay, as opposed to leaving again and ruining any chance of getting employed.
I’ve started to look at it this way. Erasmus is a great opportunity but I’ve already experienced it for the past six months through Cooperative Education. If anything it’s just an added bonus. I also have my whole life to travel, so that’s not an opportunity that will be missed. On the athletics side, I feel maybe it’s better take it serious while I’m still young and see how far I can go. It’s not an opportunity I want to miss out on. So staying at home would be best for my training. As for the job, well it’s clearly more like for me to get one here. However, I’m still left undecided.
So, here I am weighing up my options. I can either just go and do Erasmus, which will hinder my athletic progress and possible job employment. I can take the year out and give myself more time to weigh up my options fully. Or I can try appeal and get out of Erasmus. One things for sure, I haven’t left myself with an easy decision. Each has pros and cons, but in the end I’ll keep pushing forward and learning from my decisions in life. Let’s hope it’s the right one.
Making decisions isn’t easy. Have you ever had to make a tough decision in your life? Did it work out well for you in the end? Let me know in the comments below!