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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

High School Senior Weighs Tough Choices

Dear Sue: I am a senior in high school. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I am no longer sure. I wanted to be a writer, but lately Iíve become less and less interested in writing and more and more interested in cheerleading and dance. When I joined the cheerleading squad I discovered that I love cheering and dance.

Iíve been accepted to the dance department at the University I will attend next year and just found out I will not be able to cheer and dance as I had hoped. Now I am feeling overwhelmed at the thought of the work involved in dance especially knowing I wonít be able to cheer.

Everything has happened so quickly that I am afraid of making the wrong decision and wasting my parent's money. If I quit dance now, I know the dance department will never accept me again. But this anxious feeling is persistent. Should I give dance a chance, or is this anxious feeling a warning that I should quit now?

- Confused and desperate

Sue Says: You are wise young woman and your anxiety over this decision is understandable. After all, you are making some very important decisions that will impact the direction of your life. I credit you for thinking through these decisions and taking yourself seriously.

Life after high school is different than life after graduation. You'll discover new areas of interest and find numerous options and opportunities available to you, and still have difficulty deciding which direction to take. There rarely seems to be enough time or the resources to dabble in every thing that piques your interest.

Life is about growth and change; people change direction all the time. Some people change their college major during the course of their education; some outgrow their jobs and change careers later in life. Not everyone will choose to work in his or her chosen field. Nothing you decide today is meant to be a life sentence.

I admire you for thinking things through and trying to determine the best path to take, but I hope you donít feel you must plan out your entire life while you are still in high school. It is impossible for you to know now what you will want in the future. You are facing one of many decisions you will have to make over the years; donít expect every decision you make to be the right one. The questions you are asking are difficult to answer; you cannot predict the future or have the foresight to know what you will miss most between cheerleading and dance.

No matter how hard you try, it is unlikely that you will always make the right decision. Everyone makes mistakes and you will make mistakes too. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you learn from it when you do.

The decision about next year is not one you have to make all by yourself. If you havenít already, talk with your parents and let them know how concerned you are. Donít make assumptions about anything without checking things out; perhaps there is a way to combine your love of cheer and dance, but you wonít know if you donít look into it.

Life can be a thrilling adventure. Part of the trill lies in the discovery of the unknown. It's great to have an idea of what you want to do, but even the best laid out plans will evolve and change. If you hit what seems like a roadblock (as you have now), think of it as a detour instead. And, if you realize the direction in which you are headed isnít right, look for another route and change direction again.

When I was your age, I never would have guessed Iíd be writing booksóor a career advice column! Things have a way of working out and Iím confident things will work out for you.

Good luck.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at asksue@suemorem.com or visit her web site at http://www.suemorem.com

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
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