Decisions Essay, Research Paper
Decisions are an inevitable part of life. The effects of our decisions that we make will have a significant impact on our lives. In The Things They Carried, Tim O?Brien was faced with a critical decision. My senior year of high school, I too was faced with a decision that would effect where I would go, what I would do, and who I?d be with. Every senior in high school was faced with this same big ?Senior Decision? of which college to choose. We all realized quickly that there were so many choices out there and what seemed like so little time to choose.
In the novel, The Things They Carried, O?Brien wrote about the decision of whether to stay in the United States, face the draft and fight for something that he felt was against his morals, or to run to Canada to escape from the pressures of the draft and bring shame and humiliation to his family and town. When old man Elroy took O?Brien out on the boat on the Rainy River to Canada and gave him the chance to flee, O?Brien just sat there and couldn?t. The old man started fishing like nothing was different. O?Brien sat there as his life started to flash before him. He saw himself at six dressed up as a cowboy, at twelve he was a short stop, and at sixteen he was all dressed up for his first prom. On the shoreline of the Rainy River, he saw hallucinations of his family, the Chamber of Commerce, old teachers, girlfriends, cheerleaders, and old buddies. He even imagined that he saw people that had no major impact on his life. Abraham Lincoln, members of the United States Senate and the last survivor of the American Civil War were others that he envisioned standing on the bank of the Rainy River. O?Brien sat on the boat, grasped the edge of the boat and tried to force himself overboard. It just wasn?t meant to be.
Having a mother who is actively involved in education can be a pain. My mom had me start to look at colleges early. I went to my first college fair as a sophomore and my first college tour early as a junior. The college mail started pouring in after the college fair to announce open houses and campus tours. My mom basically reached into the pile of college mail sitting in a box and pulled out an open house notice to Hartwick. It was a cool, crisp fall morning when we arrived and the leaves on the trees were blazing reds and oranges. It was a beautiful campus in the hills and the whole scene took me. The day was nice and the campus was gorgeous! After the tour of the campus my mom stressed that it was only the first college that we looked at and that there were many more options to explore. I was sure that Hartwick was where I wanted to go.
After I had a taste of what a college campus and town was like I couldn?t wait to go. Like Tim O?Brien, I too was feeling the pressures from people and my situation. He felt pressure about making the right decision, not letting people down and getting away from the eyes of the world. I had the same feeling. I wanted to choose the right college and the right major so that I could make my family, teachers, and friends proud. The pressure of having my mom looking over me every second of every day was driving me absolutely insane! I was ready to move on, become more independent, and move onto the challenge of higher education.
As time went on, more and more mail came and more appointments were made. The summer of 1999 my mom had to take a trip to Albany and thought that it would be a good chance to catch a glimpse at a couple of other colleges. My mind was made up that I wanted a big college, near or in a large city. So, we made appointments to look at SUNY Albany while we were there and to take a little day trip down to New York City to visit SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
The Albany campus was nice. It was big, clean, pretty and the people were overall very friendly to me. The campus had this awesome fountain right in the center of it. The main classrooms surrounded it and looked out into the courtyard. One thing that made me a little nervous was the dormitory buildings. They were in high rises and I?m one who is afraid of heights! Another thing that I was a little skeptical about was the stories I had heard about SUNY Albany having a rather high crime rate. The tour guide was very knowledgeable of the campus and told me some very interesting facts. I met with an admissions counselor while I was there and discussed the majors that I was considering and what SUNY Albany could offer me.
The next day my mom and I boarded a train to New York City and made our way down the long and confusing streets and avenues of NYC to find FIT. When we arrived there the man at the desk was very rude. We talked to an admissions counselor briefly but we were then shooed out and we soon found ourselves back on the streets of NYC. I just remember the feeling I had the whole time that we were there. I felt ?paranoid?. I didn?t feel safe at all. It was the same feeling that I had at Albany but multiplied by one hundred.
On the way back home to Attica, we had some time to kill so my mom thought that it would be fun to swing back by Oneonta and check out the SUNY School that was there besides Hartwick. Stopping back in that little town was a good thing! I realized then that I didn?t want a city like Albany or New York, but that I didn?t want a little nothing town like Oneonta. The people and facilities at Oneonta were very nice; probably one of the nicest tours that I?ve ever been on to a college.
After that summer and a lot of thinking, I had come to find my happy medium. I had decided on majoring in computer science after much coaxing from my family and thought that the University at Buffalo would be a good choice. It was a rather large school, but in an area that I was familiar with, so I felt safe. I was sure that it was the place for me. I just wanted to blend in, become another person and not have to worry about what other people thought about me. I knew people that already went there and I felt at ease in the Buffalo area. So, I applied early decision to UB and applied to SUNY Buffalo State and Oneonta as back ups. I was sick and tired of living in the small and
Working in the Guidance Office at school gave me an advantage over most. I was actually helping my friends out with their applications and decisions after mine had already been made. Most of my classmates had never even looked at a college campus yet, much less even thought about applying. I felt like I was really ahead of the game and now there was nothing to do but sit back and relax. The day that I got accepted into UB, I remember hugging my mom and crying tears of joy with her. I called my aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparents and friends to tell them the good news. It felt like the happiest moment of my life. I was going to my number one choice school.
In January, my high school basketball coach received a packet from St. John Fisher in my name. When I opened it up, at first I was confused and thought that it was just more junk mail from a college. Apparently, the head coach from Fisher, Phil Kahler, had attended a tournament that our team had played in and was impressed with my skills. Throughout the letter, he expressed his interest in having me join the Fisher Community and playing basketball for the team. My mom read through it and told me not to get too excited until after we talked to my coach and see what he thought. The recruitment letter that I received from Fisher really threw a wrench into my plans. The next day, when I was in the guidance office, I pulled out a book on Fisher and looked over what they had to offer besides basketball. I was pleased to see that it did have my major and was not pleased to see that it cost a lot of money! All that I knew about Fisher, besides that, was what I had learned through a former Attica graduate who came to Fisher as an English major. I knew that it was a small, private, catholic college located in Rochester; a city that I rarely explored. Fisher, from the looks of things, was everything that I was trying to get away from. I wanted large, public, and I certainly wasn?t catholic!
I was very excited about the opportunity that I had been granted. Every time I went out to play basketball, I thought about Fisher. I would be different from everyone else at Attica because rarely there is a female athlete that goes on to continue playing a sport in college.
Making the decision to come to Fisher took a lot of time and a lot of thought. My mom thought that it would be nice if we came out to the college for a day to take a tour. I was all for it since she said that I?d have to miss a day of school. The first time that I drove up to Fisher I was in awe at how beautiful the surroundings were. The little town of Pittsford was quaint and old fashioned looking. I met with an admissions counselor first and she answered some of my questions that my mom and I had. Then we went on a tour of the campus. Everything was such a blur. I just couldn?t believe how beautiful it was and how friendly everyone seemed to be. Coach Kahler had been notified that I was coming and he asked if my mom and I would be willing to have lunch with him in the Fisher dining hall. For some reason, I remember the food being very good then?I don?t know what happened! I was very impressed with my first Fisher experience.
On the way home that night my mom and I talked about the possibilities of me going to Fisher. She wanted to hear my opinion before I heard hers. I explained to her that I had thought of all the pros of going to Fisher and I found only one con. I told her that I really liked it and that I felt at home there already. I could really see myself on that campus in the upcoming fall and I just had a feeling that was the place for me to go. Even if something happened and I couldn?t play ball, I?d still like it there and want to stay. The only bad thing that I thought about Fisher was maybe it was too small. She was happy to hear all of that because she said that she definitely felt better about me going there rather than going to University at Buffalo. My mom thought that I would feel safer and be much happier overall. She told me that maybe the smallness would work to my advantage because then I would be in the same type of learning environment that I had always been in. Attica?s class size averaged about maybe 25 kids to a class, so I wouldn?t have to adjust to a lecture hall that had 300 kids in it. I saw her point and agreed with her. So even though I was ahead of the game to begin with, now I had to start the game all over again. I had to fill out an application, ask for references, and even call up financial aid to have them send me another form to fill out. What a pain it all was and the deadlines seemed to be arriving so quickly.
Fortunately for me, I had a positive feeling about my decision; where O?Brien was forced to choose between the lesser of the two evils. Which choice would he be able to tolerate the most? To fight in Vietnam for a cause he didn?t believe in and possibly die or to run away to Canada leaving everything he knows and disgracing his family. In my situation my ?big decision? does not have the possibility of a tragic consequence. I knew I wanted to go to college, but the real big decision was whether to go to my first choice or this intriguing new alternative that was presented to me in the form of St. John Fisher. Either way, I was going to college something that I wanted to do. Where O?Brien was choosing the option that he would be able to bear with the easiest.