Dear Harlan: I’m graduating in a few weeks. I got rejected from the colleges I wanted to go to. I’m forced to go to my back-up school. I know I’m going to hate it. My parents think I should give it a year and see how it feels. The other option is to stay at home and go to a community college. All my friends will be away, so I’ll be on my own here. I’m really depressed. I know I won’t be happy with either decision. How can I choose between two things I don’t want?
— Not Excited
Dear Not Excited: Shift your thinking. It’s that simple. Do you want to be happy next fall? If you choose to find happiness on whatever campus you choose, you will find it. If you choose to be miserable, you’ll be miserable. Shift your thinking. Challenge yourself. Create new life experiences. Look to meet interesting new people. Go after academic scholarships. Get an awesome part-time job that will help you meet amazing professionals doing things you love to do. Change your attitude. Practice how to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. Find people who are positive, excited and passionate about something. Visit your friends at school and use this as a chance to search for more schools. You’ll learn that a college will NOT determine your future; you will. I know this isn’t what you wanted to happen, but once you shift what you want, good things will happen. You just have to be willing to shift.