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Own your choices!

Why do we feel like we have to justify ourselves at every step?

Photo courtesy of Bill Dickinson

by Paige Woodend

I got into Edinburgh and Glasgow University unconditionally based on my 5th year of high school, in which I did multiple interviews, personal statements and extensive research for both, and the important part, which is why none of that matters, to share with other people…


I chose Aberdeen. I don’t regret my decision; I love Aberdeen Uni, and I’d pick it again, over and over, but talking to people from other Uni’s, or even students from our own well-ranked institution, the fact that we got in here and might even enjoy it never seems to be enough. When asked why I chose here. It’s difficult to ignore the underlying supercilious tone and not jump onto the defence with justifications that, frankly, aren’t anyone else’s business.


This doesn’t just apply to university. Anything slightly outside the social circles’ norms and the slightest insecurity can lead to the exaggerated devaluing of something that could actually be important to you. 


Whether it’s wearing something a little more eccentric than usual, and falling on the excuse of “oh, everything else was in the wash” when confronted with strange looks or comments, or even playing down something as beneficial as a job at somewhere that isn’t very mainstream. “It’s just a waitressing job”, “I just help out here and there”, I just work hard and pay my own way rather than lazing about and relying on my parents to help me out. 


We all have those tiresome family members you see once a year, who are insistent that you should have a perfect relationship and a foolproof life plan, while they gulp back wine and stare condescendingly between deep drags of dainty Virginia Slims. Dodging awkward questions, making up some far-fetched idea of where we’ll end up after we crawl through Uni, why isn’t it enough to say we don’t fu*king know? 


More often than not, the people looking down on others’ decisions aren’t actually in a better position than them, but convincing themselves they are is one coping mechanism to deal with being a failure like the rest, or more so of one, so who can blame them? 


Next time you show someone a picture of the boy you’re seeing, try not to bother telling them how “he just isn’t that photogenic, let me find a good one, I swear he’s cute in person” when your friend is as single as a nun on Valentine's day and have similar romantic prospects. 


Our decisions are our own, and everyone’s trying to achieve different goals, so obviously we need to make different choices and go down different paths to do that; there’s no reason why where we’re going or how we’re getting there is anyone else’s news, and if you want to share, share with pride. We’ve all worked too hard to get where we are to press the soft-pedal now.

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