On Making Tough Decisions

I’ve been putting off this post because I just didn’t want to sit down and write it. You’ll understand better a little later on. Also, I’m not writing this in order to help you make your tough decision, because I am still not sure if I made the right one or if everything is decided yet.


As you might know already, I applied to some universities in the US late last year and found out the results earlier this year. I was accepted to two of those, and also got into two universities here in Brazil (I’ve explained a little bit better the differences between the process of getting into universities in the US and in Brazil in this post, if you want to know).

The first tough decision was in which school in Brazil I was going to spend the first semester studying in. It wasn’t much of a choice actually, because I didn’t consider moving from my city to another (I live in São Paulo, where University of Sao Paulo is located, and the other school is in São Carlos). I didn’t want to the spend my last semester in Brazil away from my friends, so I chose to stay in my city. More than that, in my city I was going to study Chemical Engineering, while, if I moved, I was going to study Biotechnology, which I wasn’t sure if I wanted that at that time, as it is a lot more specific than any Engineering course.

The second decision wasn’t too hard either: discarding one of the US universities I had gotten in. I didn’t really want that school, even applying, it wasn’t the greatest at what I planned on studying and I didn’t get financial aid. So, basically, nothing that held me interested in it.

During the first month and a half at USP (University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil), I was really enjoying the moment. There were moments where I would say “I am not sure if I even want to go study abroad, because I am so happy here. I met so many wonderful people I don’t want to leave, I also have my friends from high school, I found out there is a part to Chemical Engineering that I am really into… I think I’m really happy here”.

During all that bliss, I got the chance to visit that other US university. And I flew there thinking “I am going to visit it as it’s a free trip and it’ll be fun to travel”, but I wasn’t planning on loving the school as I did. I came back wanting to study there so freaking much. I fell in love with the school and everyone here in Brazil could see how much I wanted to go.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out. And giving up on fighting was my third tough decision. A dozen of things came up stopping me from going. From my parents’ uncertainty of what was going to happen if I had to come back to Brazil with the major I was wanting in the US to the financial aspect of studying abroad. This was the hardest decision of all, because I decided to stop fighting against a decision that was already made. Not by me or by anyone, but by life itself. It wasn’t that much of a choice, not really.

I just decided to stop so I wouldn’t feel worse than I was already feeling. It was a hard day, week, month. It’s hard to get what you wanted for so long (I’ve wanted to study abroad for a pretty long time, and worked towards it for months and months) and not be able to fulfill it. I am still not over this, but it’s getting better. The people I know since forever and the people I’ve just met, they’re all helping me a lot, and I am so thankful for them.

Now. It’s getting easier to deal with not being able to go abroad, but it’s getting harder to like what I’m doing right now. I don’t know if I like Chemical Engineering, I don’t know if I want to be a Chemical Engineer, if I can get through five years of studying what I don’t like in a school with a terrible teaching philosophy that makes me zero motivated, if the diploma is worth the suffering… etc. I’m probably more confused now than I was when I had to choose what/where to study for my undergraduate studies.

So, the final decision is still knocking on my door: should I stay where I am right now?

I don’t know. And I don’t know if I want to know. What I do know is that I don’t want to think about it, as much as I have to. If I decide to stay, there are many consequences. If I choose to leave, double the consequences.

I don’t know what to do, and this is why this post isn’t going to help if you are having to make a tough decision too. Sorry.