Difficult decisions, big changes

People are strange, time and time again I get reminded of this fact. Everyone is a unique individual, but a lot of traits are being shared by big groups of people. So we are both individual and part of something bigger.

One trait in particular is fascinating, the act of confessing that you made mistakes. A lot of my friends seem to have trouble with that. Often they confess their mistakes, then start whining about them, but doing something constructive, no, not really.

Then there are the people who don’t confess, but just start talking about how they are going to change, do things differently. We all know what is going on, but me and my friends cheer those people on anyway. We just get dissapointed when nothing really is changed.

Others (who seemed to have learned something from the previous situation) don’t say anything, just try to change what they think was a mistake. When they have succeeded they proclaim their succes and try to keep it up. When they fail, they don’t say a thing about it.

Now, I’m mostly number 3. I’ve whined about everything bad in my life and didn’t do anything about it. After that I proclaimed that I was going to change, make things better, but often failing. Now I just say when I’ve changed something. At least, I try, and I try to explain my own reasoning so that other people can point out flaws in it.

The biggest change so far is my decission to stop studying and start working.

Before you ask why, I will explain, that way you won’t have to ask.

I’ve been doing this study for 5 years now, I managed to get fail so many individual courses over these years that I’m now 3 years behind. Meaning I still need 2 years before a shining little piece of paper telling me I’ve got a bachelor. It’s not just one thing that I’m behind with, it’s a lot of small things.

It all started to feel like a real must, I didn’t (and still don’t) see a real reason to finish it, The only reasons I can come up with are money and the idea that I’m throwing away 5 years of my life.

Money is no real reason. I’ve got a study loan of about 40k, if I get my bachelor about 10k will become a gift, leaves 30k. But, to get that bachelor I need 2 more years of study, won’t be able to really work because of time constraints and lack of energy, so I will rack up an additional 22k of loans. Meaning that I have to pay even more back when I am indeed finished.

I mentioned it already, lack of time and energy. If I’m going to continue, it is going to cost me. I noticed it last couple of months during my last comakership at Atos Origin. I couldn’t do anything ‘fun’ during the week, had to be in bed by 10 in the evening at the latest, my alarm clock went off at either 7, or 6:30 in the morning. I spent at least 3 hours a day traveling to and from the company. In the weekends I was so tired that going out wasn’t as much as it used to be. In short, I saw my friends sometimes at a party, sometimes when going out, but a lot less often that I’d really liked.

Now, I should either just continue doing that and just get used to it. But I didn’t get used to it after 3 months, so how long should I try then? I could keep on trying, but I pretty much prefer doing something that I like.

So I decided to take a break of a year from my study. During this period I will have to work, figure out what I want, and do something with that newfound knowledge. I won’t do this alone, I know I’ve got a lot of friends whom I can ask for help. And I’m taking steps to get some ‘profession’ help/support as well.

I’ve just spent over an hour with a ‘studiekeuze’ specialist in Amsterdam. Next week I’ve got an appoint with a psychologist. Just to talk, and see if I am indeed going in the right direction.

Of course you never know if you’re going in the right direction until afterwards. All I can do is follow my heart, do what I think is best, and make sure I don’t screw up things completely.

Here’s to difficult decisions and the future!

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5 Comments

  1. “I couldn’t do anything ‘fun’ during the week, had to be in bed by 10 in the evening at the latest, my alarm clock went off at either 7, or 6:30 in the morning. I spent at least 3 hours a day traveling to and from the company. In the weekends I was so tired that going out wasn’t as much as it used to be. In short, I saw my friends sometimes at a party, sometimes when going out, but a lot less often that I’d really liked.”
    Welcome to the life of the chronically employed. Seriously. This is not an anomalous situation, my friend. This is called ‘workaday reality’. And yes, it blows – but it pays to keep it up. Literally. Sure, doing your own thing makes it easier to divvy up the time you do have. Doesn’t change the amount of time you’re expected to do gainful work. As evidenced by my own rantings on the subject, I am having some trouble with this concept myself, and therefore I believe you make the right decision in taking a different approach.

    I wish you the best of luck and achievement in your newfound direction. You know you can count on my help, should you need it.

  2. I was going to say the same as Ot, really – albeit from a totally different perspective. Life after college has hit me square in the face in all its away-from-friends-glory. Yes, in my situation this particular aspect has been fueled by a very physical separation from those closest to me, but in the past year I actually did gain some contacts I may now refer to as ‘friends’. Still, I feel as antisocial as ever. What you describe (as already quoted by Ot) sounds awfully familiar, and I can only concur that yes, this is what Responsible Adult Life looks like. However, I want to add something.

    It IS all about choices. About priorities. I know I CHOOSE to work a lot, and that I CHOOSE to live in a place closer to work than to people. And sometimes you CHOOSE to hang with your friends waaaaay past bedtime, and you’ll have the consequences the following day when you’re feeling like shit and completely useless because you didn’t sleep enough. There is no middle way, there’s only choices, one at a time. Right now you can make the choice to start working and stop studying, to me that only makes financial sense (and in that sense, I’m both proud and jealous of you). How much time and energy you have and spend on fun and friends is entirely up to you. Knowing that you are (yes you are) a responsible guy, however, this decision doesn’t seem as much ‘up to you’ as it in fact is – the word ‘duh’ comes to mind. But it’s good to realize sometimes, that the choice really is ours.

    This all is a very complicated way of saying, Yay, Wolfy! You got the power, man! And I’m proud that you’re using it! And though contact is sparse between us (and there’s a physical distance of oh, about 3000 km), I am presenting myself here as a friend who can be asked for help, anytime.

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