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I've chosen the wrong path and I am freaking out!

September 5, 2017

Original post on 7/4/17 (theundergradexperience.blogspot.com/)
 

Kia Ora,

Two posts within two weeks! I keep trying to tell you guys my weekly post game is scrawng.

So, this is becoming a recurring thought/discussion that I have had over the past couple of months--whether to go to college, how to choose a career, finding purpose. You will be glad to know I will not be answering this question on this post, that post is coming in the future (did I say this on the last post?) Rather, I want to discuss an important theory that I have been chewing on lately, that is the undeveloped brain (aka the teenage brain) and why holding off on making major decisions (major, career, etc.) is not a bad idea. Acknowledging that an undergraduate status is not representative of one's age, I will state that this post is intended for those that happen to be under 25 and bearing this status...or just 25 and under.

The idea of the teenage brain is that when faced with decisions, teenagers use their amygdala (the emotional part of the brain) to make decisions, whereas adults use their prefrontal cortex (the logical/rational part of the brain). Your emotion tells you to act now while logic tells you to strategize for the long term. While good-willed, the outcomes of these decisions can be detrimental or beneficial and even oppose each other at times, like when I decided to get into skinny jeans because everyone was wearing them instead of the practical "dad jeans" and two months later buying new jeans because skinny jeans like to rip if you don't have skinny legs (sad times). You know what emotional decisions are good for? Food. Imagine tasting that one thing you have been craving for the longest time--amazing, correcto? You have that ice cream (my choice) and it is great in that moment, you're satisfied and move on! This is not the same progression for long term decisions/situations. An emotional decision on long-term scenarios will leave you feeling fine for a while, then once you have to consider the long-term consequences of your decision, doubtful thoughts (is this what I will be waking up to for the rest of my life? Did I make the right decision? What about that other thing I used to really like, what if that is the right choice for me?) arise.

Too many times have people come to this point, many being young college students at the end of their education or early in their career--this was my case. What a terrible place to be, to have worked so hard and to come so far just to be faced with anxiety from the looming consequence of the decision you made as a teenager. It is unfortunate that many young adults fall into this situation. It was not until I was pondering on topics for a talk that I connected the concept of the immature brain with what I will call "major remorse" or "career remorse".

So, how do you overcome the incidence of major/career remorse? Stave off college, don't make that decision on the major or college you think is right for you, don't take that job that is so enticing. Maybe the problem is in the physical incapacity of the brain to make a decision that will best suit your future needs/desires/aspirations; maybe we are doing things wrong; maybe as undergrads, you should embrace the uncertaintity, making self-growth and exploring the possibilities the world has to offer a priority, finding purpose and passion in the process.

Unexpectedly, my time in New Zealand has exposed me to many young individuals who have forced me to rethink my outlook on the career decision making process. Where I would have abstained from discouraging college or taking long breaks, I find myself rethinking this position as I meet people who have embraced the uncertaintity (seriously, these people don't even have plane tickets to go back home...whaaaaat?), staving off college because they wanted to travel or learn English. While I thought these people were reckless (still kind of do), I am starting to see the method to their madness. Being a tourist destination, New Zealand is the perfect place for people like these to meet people from all over the world and supply their brains with unique information while giving it time to mature. These people have truly been inspiring and I believe that is why I am so optimistic in recommending that more people embrace the uncertainty. So, freak out not my friends.

On that note, I leave you with this message; don't let the uncertainties of the future occupy the certainties of the present.... Ooooh that was a hot quote!

If you are curious about how some of these travelers are getting about, or want to know how New Zealand is, or whatever else, feel free to drop a comment.

Cheers

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