We’ve all experienced that moment when you realize that the decision you just made could change the entire course of your life. And while that thought can be anxiety-inducing, more often than not things have a way of working themselves out. Here are two stories of decisions or events that at first I completely regretted, but have now shaped my life in a positive way.
When I was applying to university, my top choice was U of T St. George for their competitive Rotman commerce program. In my mind, Rotman was my top choice, and really my only choice. I was so excited to take the train into the city every day, and I’d already fallen in love with the downtown campus during their March Break open house. I also applied to UTM and U of Ottawa, but in my mind, that was just a formality. I was going to U of T. Even though my math marks weren’t stellar, when I expressed my worry to my friends, everyone reassured me that I was getting in. Eventually, all my friends who applied to St. George got in. I was waitlisted and subsequently refused admission. I was devastated. All that studying, all those clubs, and St. George didn’t want me.
After a few days, I decided that I could either be a grump about getting rejected, or celebrate the fact that I’d gotten into UTM with a scholarship. I realized that going to university is a privilege denied to so many people my age. Looking back on that time, getting rejected from St. George was an amazing and life-changing blunder. I love that it takes me only 20 minutes to commute to UTM, and with all the spare time I’ve saved, I’ve managed to keep my waitressing job. In the winter, I love that all the buildings are close together so I’m never freezing running from one class to the next. In fact, thanks to UTM’s cozy size, I’ve actually gotten to know my professors, and the sense of community achieved at UTM just feels out of reach at the downtown campus. All in all, this campus has grown on me and shown me that there is always something to be grateful for.
Piggybacking onto the issue of school choice, another huge challenge I faced when starting school was that most of my best friends moved away while I stayed behind to live at home. At the time, as soon as I had to say bye to my friends, I deeply regretted my decision to stay at home. They were about to go off and have all kinds of adventures in a new place, and I was jealous. For the first couple of weeks at UTM, I missed my friends so much and wished that we all could’ve gone to the same university. Meeting people at UTM was hard, and I was tired of eating meals all alone and trying without success to make friends.
Looking back at that time two years later, I realize it was incredibly important for my friends to move away. In their absence, I got to take a real look at who I was and what I wanted, apart from what everyone around me wanted. While I eventually made some friends at UTM, I also mastered the art of being alone. I now understand that every moment of my day doesn’t need to be shared, and that sometimes eating a meal alone while reading a good book can feel quite relaxing and liberating.
Overall, there are going to be times in your life when you think that you’re never going to get over a choice or mistake you made. But down the road, you may be pleasantly surprised at how your decisions shaped your life in a wonderful way that you never would have expected. After all, plot twists can make a good story into a great one.