I have a lot of indecisiveness in my life. I tend to overthink things, and as a result I miss a lot of chances to do things that could potentially be fun/good for me.

But not for long!

I’m working on going with my gut. Yes, this can be dangerous if you always follow the first thought that pops into your brain, so exercise some caution. Don’t do stupid things. But it’s really been helping me to stop thinking and start doing.

For example, my friend invited me to play soccer the other day with a bunch of people I hadn’t met. The last time I played soccer was 2 years ago and I didn’t have the best experience. I liked soccer fine, but I wouldn’t choose to play it. But I wanted to see my friend, so I forced myself to go. I almost backed out for several reasons: it looked like it might rain and I didn’t want to get wet. I didn’t know exactly where they were playing and might not find them. I had to hop a chainlink fence to reach the field and it was hard. But each time I encountered one of these obstacles, I pushed myself to stop thinking and just do. So what happened when I sidestepped all the naysayers inside my own head? Once I finally got to the field, I had a blast. 

This is applicable to all life scenarios, not just a measly fun soccer game. Yesterday, after my first Creative Writing class, I was so pumped about finally being in a cool class that I just had to introduce myself to the TA after class. But I couldn’t really think of anything to say, so I just blurted out that I wanted to be an editor and that I was super super excited about her class. She mentioned something about a special publishing program at UNCW and pointed me upstairs to talk to the head of the publishing certificate program. As I was trying to find the stairs, my head was filled with doubts and fears. She doesn’t have time to talk to me. She wouldn’t want to, anyways. I’ll mess up and make a bad impression. It’s too hard to find; I’ll come back later. But I ignored these pesky thoughts, found the stairs, and walked right into her office without another thought.

It turns out that was a great idea. I learned all about the program and how to start it as early as possible, which major to pick so I can include the certificate in my degree, and I threw my name in as many times as possible so she’d remember me 🙂 I practically skipped out of her office and I could not keep the smile off my face as I walked around outside.

But there’s another side to this idea of pushing aside your thoughts and acting. If you push aside a gut instinct, or a moral, then you’re straying into risky territory. For example: you’re sitting in your room, you just started studying, and a guy walks in and invites you to beer pong. It’s already 10:30 on a Wednesday night and you were going to have to stay up later than you wanted to finish that homework anyways. But you ignore the rational thoughts that scream NO! and you go with him.

No. That’s not what I mean.

It’s also very important to stand by what you think is right and what you’re comfortable with, regardless of the situation. If this means saying yes and blowing off homework, that’s your own choice. But personally, I try to be a stand-out girl.

What is a stand-out girl?

In the past week, I have seen thousands of girls. Thousands of freshmen. Thousands of dirty blondes. Thousands who like English and who are smart. It’s not good enough for me to be an indistinct face in the sea of collegiates. It’s not enough to merely exist. To be noticed and remembered, I have to do things and say things and make decisions that matter and that reflect who I am. I cannot do things simply because someone else does them, or agree with things someone else has said because they said it first. I have to spend my time doing only the things that make me happy, never anything less.

I don’t want to be the average freshman girl. I know I am so much more than that, and it would be too easy to sit back and blend in. Here are some things I’ve figured out already:

*I will wear whatever I feel like on whatever day I want to. I don’t need to dress up/dress down on certain days. Wearing pajamas to the dining hall brings me no shame. Wearing makeup, for me, is for very special occasions.

*I will not join a sorority. I understand the reasons for joining and don’t look down on them, but I don’t want to make the time commitment and I want to make my own friends.

*I will not hop on the party bus just because everyone else is going. There are plenty of better things to do with my time than party, and even though it may sound cool to go out with all the boys, they’ll probably respect the girls that stay home more. I’ve learned there are lots of fun activities to do in college that don’t include heavy drinking and loss of inhibitions.

*I won’t be afraid to be myself, and I will never hide that which makes me happy. There are some unusual things about me. I brought a lot of books to college. I also brought a lot of yarn because I like to knit, which is a rare skill in a college dorm. But I don’t really care. It’s fun to me and it makes me who I am. And if I throw away parts of myself to “fit in” better, then what am I left with?

Since I’m used to living 30 minutes from my school and all of my friends, I’m not used to being able to do things spontaneously. I never realized how that permeated throughout my life and made me overthink most of my decisions. In the coming weeks and months, one of my goals will be to live more spontaneously but still keep up previous commitments and relationships, and of course to exercise caution along with it.

What goals do you have for yourself to improve your life?