Expectations

Expectations are placed on each of us all the time. There’s a never-ending stream of things people expect you to do. In my case, those expectations seem to be placed on me all by myself, or all by others (or at least my perception of others).

Recently I found a job. I was getting anxious about not having a job almost three months after college graduation (understandably), and I needed a source of income. However, this job is below my experience and ability level. It was very easy to get because they get a lot of turnover and it’s not particularly difficult.

There was pressure from my parents to get a job, but now they’re throughly disappointed in the job I have. I am too. It’s enjoyable enough, but it is a bit of a dead-end. So now you could say I’m between a rock and a hard place. There’s so many expectations out there, and it’s hard (if not impossible) to fulfill all of them. The difficult part is figuring out which ones to fulfill and which ones to ignore.

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Impatience, Decisions, and Peace

Sadly, Hogwarts was not one of my potential choices. Photo credit: "Acceptance letter, opened" by Alexandra E Rust on Flickr. CC-BY.

Sadly, Hogwarts was not one of my potential choices.
Photo credit: “Acceptance letter, opened” by Alexandra E Rust on Flickr. CC-BY.

I can be a little impatient sometimes. I think that was at least a little apparent in my first post. One example of this was back in 2007 when I was getting college acceptance letters.

There were three schools that I was seriously considering, and they are the three I applied to: Washington State University, Brigham Young University, and Brigham Young University – Idaho. (A note about BYU-I: it’s not a satellite campus of BYU, it’s a sister school that shares the same name – so they are separate schools and actually do have different degree requirements.)

WSU was pretty quick to get back to me. I had excellent grades in high school and fairly high SAT and ACT scores, so I was accepted. I didn’t particularly want to go there, so I waited to hear back from the others.

BYU and BYU-Idaho also sent me acceptance letters. Now there was some deciding to do. Choosing a college is really hard. At least it was for me. There’s plenty of great schools out there, and there’s no way to just compare some statistic and say “this is the best one.” College isn’t just about a degree: it’s where you spend at least 4 years of your life (5 in my case, since I switched to a different major in the middle). Each college campus has a unique atmosphere and provides a different experience. Sure, it’s possible to transfer to a different school after starting, but that’s definitely not ideal. Worse still, I didn’t have the opportunity to go visit the colleges I wanted to go to. I just had to look at the online tours and hope that they were somewhat truthful.

Naturally, one of the considerations in choosing a school is money. College is expensive, and scholarships help a lot! WSU’s scholarship offer was OK; not great, but not bad. It took a little longer to get BYU-I’s scholarship offer. It was better: full tuition for the first year, with different amounts (up to full tuition again) for each year, dependent on GPA.

There was just one problem. I hadn’t gotten any news of scholarships from BYU yet. Time passed and I still hadn’t heard anything. It was getting to the point where I needed to make a decision so I could arrange housing and make other preparations. I set a deadline: by a certain day I would decide, whether BYU had told me anything or not.

It was hard to decide between BYU and BYU-Idaho. My mother went to BYU, so there was some loyalty there. Also, BYU definitely was (and still is) the more prestigious school, with more degree programs available and a better reputation. I don’t know numbers today, but at the time BYU-I accepted about 97% of applicants (the number is probably similar today). It’s an easy school to get into, and I worried that maybe it would be a dumbed-down experience. Still, they had offered me a scholarship, and I didn’t have any news from BYU.

The deadline came, and I still didn’t have a letter from BYU. I needed to make a choice and I didn’t have all the information I wanted to have. I chose BYU-Idaho.

The funny thing is, if I remember correctly, less than a week later I got a letter from BYU offering me a full tuition scholarship. If I had been a little more patient and set my deadline just a week later, I could have made a very different decision. I don’t know what my life would be like if I had chosen to go to BYU instead of BYU-Idaho. There’s no point speculating either.

I wouldn’t consider going to BYU-Idaho a mistake, but my impatience probably was. I doubt I really needed to decide right then what school I was going to, but I felt like I did. That choice was a good one though, and I enjoyed my time in Rexburg.

Post inspired by today’s Daily Prompt (“Favorite Mistake”) on The Daily Post.

An Insomniatic Impetus

I often have too much on my mind to sleep well. My thoughts race and go all over the place. Truth be told, it can be really annoying.
That’s why I’m starting this blog: maybe if I get a few of these thoughts out of my head, I won’t have to think about them anymore.

Maybe a little introduction is in order. My name is Andy Bell, and I’m right at quarter-life crisis age. I graduated college a couple of months ago and now am what I hoped I wouldn’t be: the recent grad still living at home. As you might be able to tell from the tone of this post, that has me kind of worried.

For the first time in my life, I don’t really have a plan. I have such diverse interests that I didn’t really specialize enough in my studies, making me (at least in my eyes) a little unemployable in my field. Not working gives you a lot of time to think, and, in my case, way too much time.

This blog is mostly about me developing a writing habit. I’ve tried blogging numerous times in the past, but I’ve never gotten far. I think I know the reason why: expectations. They’ve simply been too high in the past. I’ve wanted every post to be a masterpiece and that is a great way to burn out quickly.

There won’t be a single consistent topic for this blog; think of it more like an opinion column, or Andy Rooney’s old bit at the end of 60 Minutes. Any topic is fair game with the only role being that I need to post every weekday (though weekends are great too). I want to take my personal filter off to a degree and just write. The key is that I’m not writing for an audience; I’m writing for me. If other people find my posts interesting that’s great, but I care way more about writing them than other people reading them.

Now that that ramble-fest is out of the way, maybe I’ll be able to sleep.