My entire life, I've always carefully considered others' advice. I think that in many situations it's important to learn from the experiences of others. But, when you calm your heart and take a deep breath, you have to realize that you are not living anyone else's life but your own. Here's how I'm currently trying to live out MY life, instead of making decisions based on those around me.
Since summer, I've been meeting a friend for lunch regularly. I'll admit, I even call her my mentor. :) She can attest to the fact that when we grab a bite to eat, our conversations quickly turn into my own venting sessions which then leaves me pleading for life advice. After lunch is over, I then spend the next few days trying to figure out how I can use her words of wisdom to make my own decisions, whether they be small or big.
Here's my problem. I often admire others' circumstances and life choices and hope mine will one day mirror theirs. It's almost as if I need to examine a rubric or blueprint of others' choices before acting on my own. Of course there is nothing wrong with asking someone for advice. In fact, I think it's 100 percent beneficial. It's what you do after you receive the guidance that can take a turn for the worst.
For example, my longterm boyfriend of nearly three years is currently applying to and interviewing for medical school. I too have been contemplating which graduate schools to apply to. Without stressing about the matter, the situation is relatively facile. I want to obtain master's degree in higher and postsecondary education and participate in assistantship programs that will help me gain experience in the field. To my fortune, the friend I mentioned earlier- we'll call her Kate, was in a similar position about five years ago. She fully understands what it's like to make sacrifices for loved ones and to make decisions based off of them. Kate's boyfriend at the time, and current husband, was also taking the MCAT and applying to various medical school programs. And ironically enough, she is currently working in higher education. Don't you see... our lives could be nearly identical?! There are many more crazy similarities but I won't waste the time listing them here.
The reality is this:
Although many times I've said that I want my life to be JUST LIKE THEIRS, I know it will never be. Circumstances vary and plus, I should be thankful for all of my own blessings.
I will probably never own a cat like they do because I'm allergic. I also don't have to hop on a plane to get to the destination where my childhood home is, but Kate does. I will never be a traveling consultant for my sorority because I simply am choosing not to apply... and the list could go on and on.
You catch my drift.
So this past weekend, I made a few big decisions of my OWN. It took all that was in me to realize that although I hate making mistakes, I cannot pattern my life after others' simply because I'm afraid of falling flat on my face. So here's what I decided:
1. I moved my GRE to March, instead of it being in five days. The program I'm applying to doesn't require it so instead, I'll do more studying & hope to use that score while applying to a PhD program within the next five years (crossing my fingers).
2. I will only apply to one graduate program and risk the fact of being rejected and/or not being in the same location as my boyfriend, if/when he gets into medical school.
Although these seem like very simple decisions, they were not. It took tears, hours and a few pros/cons lists to realize that as much as I'd love to make all of my decisions the same as my Kate did in her past, that would not be me trying to live my own life. That would be a foolish attempt to live up to the standards of others.
So from now on, I promise to continue to ask others for advice, knowing full well that I will use it to help me make my own decisions, which will be based completely off my heart's desires, passions and convictions. I think acting by means of improvisation, based on the knowledge of others and the passions within, will help me to make the best choices!