If you have ever attempted to help a toddler do something they were struggling with, I am sure you have heard, “no, I want to do it myself.” Thus, begins a long and sometime painful series of the child believing they know better than the parents and every other adult how best to get something done. Eventually, many of us grow out of that phase but some go to their grave believing that no one else on earth every had a better idea than theirs.
A very good time for every person to begin to recognize they don’t have all the answers is during adolescence – fat chance, right. The specific area where I would like to see the development of reason in the decision-making process is with post-secondary education. Too many students base their decisions on things that have nothing to do with their aptitude, level of intelligence or career aspirations. Going where the boyfriend or girlfriend is going, picking a school because they have a good football team, because they hear the name regularly or only considering the top 10 colleges on someone’s “Best” list are not good things on which to base an expensive and lengthy decision.
A few years ago, a very bright client of mine was committed to major in engineering. They couldn’t decide on a specific area of engineering to pursue because several were interesting. There would be two family members in college at the same time so financial aid would play a big role in the decision. The initial list consisted of colleges that 97 out of any 100 people would recognize. When I suggested we add a school to the list that she had not heard of during one of our meetings, she practically huffed at the ridiculousness of the idea. Thankfully, mom took note of the suggestion and began researching the school.
In the end, mom put the school on the list. Their engineering program was very well respected and they approached instruction differently than their better-known counterparts. They taught a different engineering discipline each semester so that the student understood how to work with any engineer in any situation. Also, the cost of attendance after all her financial aid awards make attending the “no name” school fully half what it would cost at the brand name schools. The report I got from mom was that she was happy as a clam from the very first semester.
In case you missed the moral of my story… Someone will know more than you do on just about every imaginable subject. A big part of making the best decision is to seek the council of those people when possible. Once you have the best information available, making a good decision is simple. Give it a try and thank me later.