Decision-making is a life skill

Josh Zytkiewicz, Managing Editor

As the managing editor of the Clarion over this last year, I’d like to reflect on something I’ve noticed.

Particularly, that at the beginning of the semesters, we will have students come into the Clarion office who wish to write for our fine paper.  Some of these students have experience, some don’t.  Some want to be journalists, some just want to try something new.  Inevitably the question is asked of them, “What do you want to write?”  Often, much too often, their answer is, “I don’t know.”

Now, on the one hand, I can’t blame them too much for this answer.  After all, college is the time you’re supposed to go out and try new things.  Perhaps they are just unfamiliar with our publication and the type of content we produce.

On the other hand, further questioning leads me to believe that it’s something deeper, and possibly more concerning.  It seems to me that many of the students leaving our high schools are so afraid to give the wrong answer that they don’t give one at all.  They have been trained by our K-12 education system that there is only one answer, and that giving the wrong answer is very bad.

But that’s not how the world works.  The world is not full of right and wrong answers.  At best you can say it’s full of mostly right and mostly wrong answers.  It’s not black and white, it’s many, many shades of gray.

Often there isn’t enough information available to get anywhere close to one correct answer.  Or on the other end there are so many possibilities that dozens could be the correct answers.  What makes this trend so sinister is that students are not being allowed to develop decision making skills. If students are uncomfortable with a question like, “What do you want to write?” how are they supposed to make decisions that actually matter?

If you’re reading this and feel it applies to you, get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Do things, try things, make decisions that might not be 100 percent correct.  Do it now, here, while you’re in college,  because out there in the “real world” if you can’t make a decision, I might not fire you, but I’m certainly not going to promote you.