When I was 18 years old, deciding what college to go to was the biggest choice I’d ever had to make. For a girl who struggled with what outfit to wear on a daily basis, the immensity of the decision was paralyzing. This place would decide my future friends, future husband, future career, where I live. I was committing a whole 4 years of my life – a time period that doesn’t seem so long from 30 – but comprised a huge fraction of my teenage life. It didn’t help that I was devastated to be leaving all of my best friends since elementary school behind. Why couldn’t we all go together again?
I didn’t get into my top choice, and was too offended by the waitlist suggestion of my second choice to even consider it. I had my pride! So, that narrowed the real contenders to three choices – ignoring all the safeties. The first decision was between city and country. I have been accepted to a college in the middle-of-nowhere Upstate New York. The beautiful campus, huge equestrian program, and promise of sorority parties pulled me. But after growing up in the country, the two NYC colleges beckoned with their bright lights, big city appeal.
I tortured my family and friends. I cried. I made lists, and still was no where closer to picking a school even though the deadlines loomed nearer. Then, after one particularly dramatic dinner with my dad, spent almost entirely agonizing over the decision, we got back to his house, and he pulled out a quarter.
“Well, you don’t seem any closer to deciding now than you were three weeks ago. So, let’s flip a coin. Whatever comes up, that’s where you’ll go.” I was pissed that he was simplifying my plight, but begrudgingly agreed. We said heads, I’d go to St. Lawrence, tails – Fordham. When the heads came up, I had a sinking feeling.
“So, are you excited or disappointed?” Dad asked. I had to confess, the coin toss was kind of a let down.
It turns out that my dad had never actually planned to decide based on a 50-50 chance. He just knew that regardless of what came up, I would feel a certain way. That would guide my choice. It was a clever trick to get around teenage indecision.
Now, in moments when I just.can’t.pick. I pull out a coin and see how the flip makes me feel. And, I’ve been living in NYC for almost 12 years now, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice I (finally) made.