I feel like every word I type here is under scrutiny. Which is odd, because I only have a few (dare I say loyal?) followers. I hate that the words of one, single, too scared to put a name to the face person make me hesitant to do something that I love – write.
I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences with future and current graduate students. I found that when I had nothing else to turn to, this became my outlet.
When the stark reality that I was officially in a long distance relationship hit me, I wrote about it. When I realized that the person that’s been by my side for the last 5 years was no longer there – I wrote about it. When I started failing my classes and FUBARing lab – I wrote about it. When I realized that I didn’t quite fit in – I wrote about it. And I put my name and face to everything that I wrote.
I stand by it.
I’m making a very difficult decision in my life. And I’m displaying it for all of the world to witness. I don’t know if that’s ballsy or not – but I do hope that someone out there will benefit from this. I hope that someone out there will read something that I’ve written on these pages and walk away with the firm resolve to be whoever they were meant to be. Someday, in the potentially very near future, you will be faced with making a life altering decision. And that very same decision will be influenced by the (often unsolicited) opinions of others. And those opinions will make you stop and question everything that you’ve done and said up until that point. Finally, when you think you’ve weighed every option, every pro and con, Some Random (dare I say negative? Unhappy? Eager to spread the misery around?) person will come along and offer their “expert advice,” and you’ll be back to square one.
Don’t let it happen. You are who you are and you have to live with the decisions you make. Naturally, we seek the counsel of those that are closest to us, but at the end of the day the decision is yours and yours alone. Do you want to wake up 10 years from now and have to say “I did xyz because Some Random told me I should?” That is a recipe for regret.
I came. I saw. I conquered the “what if” beast. When I leave, and trust me I’m counting down the days, I won’t have to ask myself “what if I’d gone to Purdue?” I’ll already know what it was like. I won’t be so busy agonizing over my past, and I’ll be able to focus on the here and now and on the future.
It’s very easy for Randoms to offer their opinions when they aren’t the ones that have to deal with the consequences. It’s very easy for anyone from the outside looking in to say what is or isn’t right or wrong. Whatever happened to live and let live? If you don’t like it, then don’t YOU do it. But don’t begrudge me my right to do so. Don’t believe in gay marriage? Don’t marry a gay person. Problem solved. You don’t believe in abortion? Don’t have one. Problem solved. Don’t like the content of a novel because it’s too racy/violent/whatever? Then don’t read it. Problem solved. Don’t like the idea of dropping out of grad school?
Let’s stop making controversy where there is none. And let’s stop believing that the facelessness of the internet somehow gives you the authority to act like a complete asshole.
But, most importantly, let’s have a little more compassion for one another - for those that we do and for those that we don’t know.
If you’re reading this, and you’ve got a crazy difficult decision to make in your life – I hope you find the strength you need to do it. I hope you find the resolve you need to do it. And, most importantly, I hope you do it for you because you’ve got to live your life. No one else can do that for you.
I leave you with a quote that a friend recently reintroduced me to:
"Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins.” Oliver Wendell Holmes