Decisions Aren't So Bad

I wasn't scared of the idea of graduating. I was scared that I was so sure.

By: May. 07, 2023
Decisions Aren't So Bad
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When I wrote my most recent blog, Decisions... A Year Later, I thought my next big decision would be about studying abroad Spring 2024. Study abroad is built into Boston University's (BU) School of Theatre (SOT) spring semester of Junior Year. However, because of expenses and my vast amounts of credits from my Associates Degree (earned when I was 17, thanks to an Early College High School program in my school district), study abroad didn't seem viable or necessary to me.

For the entire spring semester, I have been thick in the study abroad decision process: meeting with financial and program advisors, researching the curriculum, and weighing the pros and cons of studying abroad vs staying in Boston and taking elective courses at BU to fuel my educational curiosities. This process led me to realize I actually wasn't too interested in the courses or internships in London-the only reason why I wanted to go to London was the experience of living overseas for 4 months. Instead, I was very interested in going to LA for that semester to intern at a casting agency. The LA experience would afford me a lot of professional networks in film and tv that I couldn't really get elsewhere. Similar to all my big decisions, I was waffling back and forth and feeling the pressure of a decision looming as I would need to choose the program by early June when the applications for the programs would begin to open their rolling decision processes.

But all of this was upended during the course forecasting meeting I had in early April with my Academic Advisor, Molly Jodka. After reviewing my academic records, she informed me that I currently have 100 of the 130 required credits to graduate and that I could feasibly complete the remaining credits, including the required courses for my major, during the 2023-24 school year and graduate an entire year early. She told me I didn't have to decide right away and could take the next several weeks to consider this option.

With those final words, I was hit with an unfaltering feeling... I want to graduate next year. Not just that... I know I'm ready to. I have been in college for four years now (2 years at community college and 2 at BU). Since the beginning of this year, I've felt largely burnt-out and eager to work professionally in the field again. I love university and higher education, but I feel like it's time for me to get to know myself as a person and artist outside of the structure and security blanket of school. I know I will come back in some way, but I need some time away before I come back.

Compared to past decision processes for me, this one has been very weird. As you read in my first blog in the Decision Series, Decisions Are Hard, I have historically struggled with decisions. I have a formulated plan to help me make them and am very dedicated to following it. To avoid impulsive decision-making, I wait three days and see what my gut says. Then, if time allows, I wait three weeks before my next self-check-in. Then, by three months, I know and feel comfortable with my decision... But this time, with this huge decision, I knew my answer by the time Molly finished her sentence. I was gobsmacked. Speechless. I don't think I've ever truly been without words before this. I knew, from that point, that I would be graduating next year. And I was scared.

I wasn't scared of the idea of graduating. I was scared that I was so sure. Was there something I was missing? A sign that pointed to me not graduating next year? This doesn't happen to me. I'm never so instantly sure about these kinds of things. I was so unsure about my sure-ness. I waited three days (the bare minimum), but I never faltered. Never wavered. Never flip-flopped. Three days passed, and nothing changed. I was on top of it, contacting my professors and mentors about this decision, reformulating the priorities of my courses, began working on my rebranding strategies as an adult artist (no longer a child actor) a year earlier than anticipated, and began critically thinking about how I will solidify work outside of school that will pay the bills. All the things I've thought about are way less far away than they were just a year ago...

Despite my firm commitment to my decision, I have been fairly slow to blast this news to people. It's not necessarily a secret, but I am admittedly worried about separating from my original Class of '25 cohort (seen in photo). When my trajectory of learning became diverged from my peers in the past, the people I was surrounded by quickly distanced themselves from me, no longer taking the time and energy to pursue further friendships or working relationships. I don't want that to happen here. I want to stay friends and keep working with my peers while also fostering relationships with my new cohort, the Class of '24. I am excited to walk into the Senior Theatre Arts Major Production (STAMP) thesis room next semester and build a new ensemble with my fellow seniors. I am very interested in what's going to happen in the next two years. They're going to look very different from what I had thought they would be only a few weeks ago, but I couldn't be more sure.


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