'Figure it out as it goes' is an okay life motto, right?

How being undecided brings both fear and freedom


Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

There I was, sitting in 1515, next to a full bookshelf and in a finely crafted wood chair. I looked out of the window while listening to indie-folk music, feeling like that cool-and-quirky booklover everyone secretly aspires to be. I should’ve been sipping out of a coffee mug while wearing glasses — really would’ve finished the hipster look.

In reality, I’m sure I was simply tapping my pen out of frustration, gazing out the window to avoid looking at the repeated red X’s from my WebAssign. It was in this moment of frustration that I decided to briefly abandon my calc homework and venture onto Lou’s List. 

Let’s give some background before I go into this debacle. 

Because of my undecidedness, I determined at enrollment during orientation that I was going to try to knock out as many of my College requirements in my first couple semesters as possible. 

Little did I know that my clever mind was playing a trick on me, concealing complete procrastination behind sheer brilliance. It was then, in 1515, where I realized that my astute mind had completely pulled one over me. 

I browsed for a while, checking out general subjects that interested me, and then specific classes that sounded somewhat outlandish and intriguing. Though, several Mumford & Sons songs later, I toggled my cursor over the little red circle that designated what the enrollment requirements were for this one certain course. It was meant for a second-year, or older, bio major. I first wondered why I was even bothering to be looking at this class anyway since I am not generally interested in Biology at all. But then it kind of settled in — I have to have a major. And I have to have a major relatively soon. 

“Don’t you have to have some idea about what you want to do?” That’s the question you want to ask, yeah? I figured, I get that one a lot. 

Yes, I have a general set of interests. I’m relatively positive I will end up underneath the large humanities umbrella, though I’m also sure that — at some point — I will want to drop that umbrella and start jumping around in the puddles of other interests, wondering what it would be like to dip my toe in a different cohort of subjects. 

Instead of thinking about how much of an edgy, coffee-shop-goer I appeared to be that day in 1515, I should have been really listening to the music that was playing — Mumford & Sons, “After the Storm.” Specifically the lines that go, “Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.” I think that is the only thing that I can do for myself — just keep on keepin’ on. 

Cliché and cheesy? I know, but it’s true. Indecisiveness is a general trend in my life — when I finally think I’ve succumbed to my inability to make a decision, something comes around and sparks my interest. This time, my hesitation and anxiety about what classes I was going to reluctantly add to my shopping cart was interrupted by these lyrics. Other times it’s been a quote from a TV show or a movie. “The Office,” for example, has one that never fails to keep me grounded. Pam Beesly says, “Be strong. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Conquer your fears. Just go after what you want, and act fast, because life just isn’t that long.” 

These kind of lines demonstrate that after this foreboding wave of fear and uncertainty will come a calm. Every time I’ve thought that I am just too confused and conflicted about the direction of my life, a quote sticks out or a show says exactly what I’m thinking, or something or someone opens my eyes to a new pathway or passion that I can immerse myself in. 

I guess I just rely on the hope that something will come. Or maybe that I will simply make things better for myself after getting over this worry. I’ve noticed that worries have a way of resolving themselves, as long as you have the openness to see them through — to getting over that hill. Either way, the only advice I have is to just figure it out as it goes. 

related stories