Hard Choices Signal Maturity

Katie Erickson, Staff Writer

The average human makes about 612 voluntary decisions a day, 4,900 decisions in a week, and 254,800 in a year, according to Advocate of Human Potential, Inc.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been confronted with several painstaking decisions. Not just insignificant choices, like what to eat for breakfast, but the big ones that will impact the next couple of years of my life and beyond.

One of these decisions was whether I should continue swimming on Orinda Aquatics, a year round swim team that I had been on since August, or to go back to my recreational summer swim team, Moraga Ranch, that I had competed on every summer since I was little. In the beginning, I really struggled with this decision.

Each night I would be at war with myself, trying to decide. Both choices had huge benefits. The real challenge was coming to terms with giving one of them up.

I listed the pros and cons, talked to my coaches, discussed it with my teammates, and dreaded the deadline for my decision. My family was sick of hearing me continually debate with myself and ask their opinion.

When I was younger, I did not have to constrain my interests.  I was free to explore as many different sports as I could find.

With high school comes greater responsibility and more demanding commitments.  Gone are the days of leisurely participation.

I had to take responsibility and focus on a single sport.  I considered my goals and the long term consequences and benefits of each decision. What did I want to accomplish in swimming and how would each choice affect me?

Choosing Orinda Aquatics over Moraga Ranch, I knew I was going to lose a tradition I had loved since I was 5 years old. But I would also be joining a team that could potentially turn into a more rewarding experience.

Choosing classes for my junior year was also difficult for me. With fewer required courses, I have the opportunity to branch out academically.  Yet, this freedom is another source of anxiety.

Junior year is when students start to focus on what they see as potential career possibilities and take the courses that really interests them. In my schedule draft, I had 9 classes that I wanted to narrow down to 6, and some offered either AP or Honors programs.

There were many factors I had to account for when making this decision: my future job, how much work I could handle, how it would effect what college I could get into, what I wanted to take and if I wanted to make my junior year flooded with work, or if I wanted a lighter load.

Everyone around me seemed to have it figured out. Again, I talked to all my friends and my family about what decision they thought would be best for me, but their  answer was that it was ultimately up to me.

 I wish I could do it all, take every class I want and fit more activities into my already crowded day, but I have to let things go. 

Even though these decisions are challenging, they ultimately shape who I will become and decide my future. Although I will miss Moraga Ranch, I am excited to be fully commited to a new team and swim over the summer for Orinda Aquatics.