Olivia Burke, Staff Writer
We make decisions every day: do I have time to go to the gym? Should I start that assignment now? What type of cheese do I want on my sandwich? However, not every decision we make throughout our day is that simple. Sometimes we are plagued with harder decisions: what am I going to do after college? Are the relationships I am in now beneficial to me? What is the best way to pay off my student loans?
As a second semester senior, the question of employment after college has weighed heavily on my mind recently. The past three summers I have worked with the National Park Service on Cape Cod. It was a job I loved. However, there were severe budget cuts for the upcoming season made by the federal government. Suddenly, I was out of a job.
The situation got more complicated when I was notified that I was a finalist for a Fulbright Scholarship, a prestigious cultural exchange program. The Fulbright would give me the opportunity to teach English in Montenegro for the school year of 2020-2021. When I applied, I never thought I would become a finalist. All of a sudden, the possibility of moving to another country in August became real.
Meanwhile, the job results came back for the Park Service: I was offered a position at both Cape Cod National Seashore and at Boston Harbor Islands. The position on Cape would be boring and not a challenge for me. However, I could stay at home, enjoy the summer with my friends and save up some money. The position in Boston allowed for more intellectual and professional growth, but it would be in a work environment not conducive to my strengths and I would make less than half the money. So, do I take the better opportunity (on paper) or the
logistically easier position? Due to their hiring process, I knew I had a small window of time to decide. Immediately I began to panic: how do I know which choice is right? Will I regret my choice in the future?
I went back and forth for a day when I came to the realization. 10 years down the road I might realize that I made the wrong choice, but wrong choices can lead to the biggest periods of growth. I was able to take pressure off myself: it was okay if I made the wrong decision. I would learn and grow and then move on if it was not the best choice.
If you are struggling in making a decision, there were a few things that helped me. It was helpful to talk to people that I trusted, such as my parents and a few professors at Assumption who know me well. It is okay to turn to friends for support: my roommates are always willing to listen and give advice, which I will be forever grateful for. Another useful tool was making a pros and cons list and rating each aspect of both jobs. This helped me to make the most rational decision. Additionally, it is important to give yourself time. My initial thoughts on both jobs were drastically different from how I felt just a day or two later. I think it is also important to be honest with yourself: do not just choose the easier path. It might be more tempting in the moment but might hold you back in the future, so do not be afraid of your potential. If it is the wrong choice, be bold and strong enough to learn and grow from it. That is where you will prove just how successful you can be. Lastly, take the pressure off yourself, if both options are viable, use it as a learning experience.
With that being said, I’ll see you on cape this summer!