Ordinarily, I am not one for procrastination. Nevertheless, it was the day of the deadline to submit my SIR to the UC of my choice, and truth be told, I wasn’t much closer to a final decision than I was when acceptance (and rejection) letters had just been sent out.
I hadn’t discussed my options with my parents because talking about it out loud came with a certain sense of reality/finality that I just wasn’t too thrilled about – I am truly indecisive. This is somewhat of a setback when faced with the rather large, life-changing decision of choosing which college is right for you. But fear not; it can be done!
I had been going back and forth between two schools: UC San Diego and UC Davis. I had made a mental pros-and-cons list in my head, because putting it on paper made it too real.
Tip #1: Write out your pros-and-cons list on paper! Although it might seem intimidating to actually see your reasons listed out side-by-side, this will be extremely helpful to your decision-making process in getting your initial thoughts out of your head.
I had all the big, obvious reasons on my list – closeness to home, environment, academics, my major of interest, etc. – but it was difficult to know which reasons weighed more than others. Whenever I thought that I was close to a final answer, I talked myself out of it and I was back to square one again.
Tip #2: Don’t procrastinate! The decision-making process takes time, and you’ll benefit from a clear mind without the added pressure of a deadline. It can get overwhelming at times, so it might be helpful to take a break from decision-making every so often to get a fresh perspective.
It was a Friday afternoon and my SIR was due by midnight; I was running out of time. I finally decided to consult my older sister – who better to help me with such a huge decision than someone who has known me my entire life?
Tip #3: Talk to someone! It’s easy to become lost in your thoughts after a while, so it’s helpful to get someone else’s perspective and input – especially if they know you well.
“Picture yourself in one year: where are you?” My answer surprised myself; while I had previously assumed that I would picture myself in sunny SoCal, studying on the beaches of UCSD, I instead instinctively saw myself surrounded by hordes of bicyclists and the green, open campus of UC Davis.
Tip #4: Close your eyes and actually try to picture yourself at school and the type of environment you see yourself in. It might seem silly, but trying to visualize where you’ll physically be in the future can help to find the college that is the best fit for you.
After a lengthy discussion and a few more back-and-forths, I had finally made my decision. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it; it wasn’t one singular reason over another that made me choose UC Davis, but more of a general, inexplicable feeling that I had. Although, it didn’t hurt that Davis was the perfect distance from home for me – close enough for comfort, but far enough to be independent; and the College of Biological Sciences offered specific majors that were particularly interesting to me – Exercise Biology (EXB) and Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB). For these reasons, it did not bother me as much when my classmates were surprised that I had chosen UC Davis over UC San Diego, as going to SoCal was apparently the “thing to do.” I was happy with my decision and excited to spend the next four years of my life at the college of my choice.
BASC Peer Adviser
Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Class of 2014