How to Decide: The Know Yourself Edition

Recently, Sarah Wilson wrote about indecision. Once I read the first few paragraphs, I couldn’t stop; she was me, I was her! (And we are all together!) Below is my own experience with indecision, including stories of roommates, Mom and Dad, and self-worth.

I’ve always been indecisive. I’d waffle around the house for days, wondering what movie I should see on a Friday night. I’d call my friends, asking them to choose the destination of our morning brunch. I’d even ask my mom what to do, and of course she would make the small, meaningless decisions for me. I’ve since gotten a lot better: I know where I want to go out to eat, for example, and I’ve become pretty adept at persuading my boyfriend to join me. However, when it comes to the big things, I have a problem.

Last semester, one of my friends asked me to move in with her in the middle of the school year. I was living in a single that connected to another single, where my once-close friend, Natasha, lived. Even though we lived next to each other, I didn’t see her much. I saw her on the way to the bathroom, and smiled. She heard me through the walls, practicing a song I would audition for in my a cappella group. We ate dinner with our group of 15 or so friends each week, but never alone, unless something was wrong and we needed advice (in those cases, it was always me coming to her, probably because I had more problems).

Even though we weren’t your traditional roommates, our blase friendship was all that I needed. I was happy there, in my cramped single in the wellness dorm on lower campus. I had bothered Tasha so much the year before about being roommates, that being connected singles buddies was the closest I knew we would get. However, I also remembered how lonely it got, living in a single, especially a single on lower campus miles away from my boyfriend (at least, that’s what it seemed like. The trek to upper campus only took about five minutes.)

When Carlie asked me to room with her, I said I’d think about it. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make a decision; I didn’t want to. It was over my head. I was worried that Natasha would be upset if I left. I was worried that I wouldn’t have as much alone time with my boyfriend. I was worried about making my parents help me lug my furniture and posters and books and clothes all across campus. I was worried about the room, which was in the only feminist dorm on campus. I was worried about Carlie herself, who, while being extremely fun-loving, also seemed eccentric, unpredictable. I wondered what it would be like living with her.

My mom told me to write a Pros and Cons list, and while all the cons weighed heavily on my mind, I ended up writing more Pros. The room had a bathroom in it. It was above the dining hall. It was next door to my boyfriend’s dorm. It was also the dorm in which his sister lived. I would no longer be lonely; if I wanted someone to hang out with, I wouldn’t have to bother my boyfriend (but of course, I invariably did). I could make lots of friends with strong-minded women. Still, I didn’t know what I wanted. To me, some of the cons seemed to have more weight than the pros, or some of the pros seemed to have more weight to the cons. I measured my indecision, hoping that the right percentage of yes and no would give me the answer I was looking for.

After months of brooding, it finally came to me. It wasn’t a “Eureka” moment. I just knew that I wanted to try something different, and that my decision shouldn’t be for the people around me (Natasha, Carlie, Mom and Dad, Tommy the boyfriend), but for me. I had to know myself, what I truly and desperately wanted, before jumping into a decision I might regret. I moved in with Carlie, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were no problems, and we became much closer as friends. It was my first successful experience with a roommate (not counting Tasha; she didn’t technically live with me), and she introduced me to so many other wonderful people I probably would have never met. I’m grateful for the experience, and I’m glad that my decision didn’t let me down.

Now, I’m in the same predicament. An even larger decision circles around my head: should I study abroad, taking in the culture of London and landing an internship there, or stay at Wheaton, becoming a higher position at the newspaper and continuing to be the Music Director of my a cappella group? I haven’t yet made a Pros and Cons list, and I probably won’t. Instead, I’ll look deep into myself, and reflect: “What do I want?”

How do you deal with indecision? Do you have any tips for knowing what you want? 



  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and in no way seem to get one thing done.

    1. Thanks a lot! I’m a procrastinator, too. I just sit myself down and say, “I’m going to write to the Internet in the next hour!” And it somehow works.

  2. Aww Allie! I’ve loved living with you this semester too 🙂 I’m glad everything worked out and anytime you need another roomate you just hit me up and I’ll be there.

    1. Haha yay, I’m glad you read this. I’ll miss you so much when you’re abroad! But you’re a fabulous lady & you’ll learn to be a fabulous foreign lady in Spain~

  3. Ethel Parker · · Reply

    Allie, I know that whatever decision you make, it’ll be the right one. Think it through thoroughly, and best of luck. Love, Nonnie


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