Just do you (sometimes)

Sophomore slump

Stephen Kolison

I always hated taking other people’s advice growing up. I’m hardheaded, and I have already convinced myself that I am stubborn from womb to tomb.

Part of me is sure that this is because I was always this Type-A kid who always knew what he was doing. There probably is a good chunk of people at CWRU who just cruised along until they got here. Of course, that’s when the people who are always sure of themselves start to question themselves and everything.

While I do not believe that yelling should be used to get a point across, I do it anyway when uttering my favorite phrase: You do you. Usually that expression is followed by a sassy, “girl,” “boy,” “honey,” “dawg,” etc. when in all actuality I am being very serious. But sometimes, just doing you is not helpful whatsoever.

To anyone who may have read my work from last year, I wrote many articles talking about the importance of staying true to yourself and doing what is best for you, not others. It became such a staple of my work that I could go door-to-door selling leather-bound journals with “Just Do You” engraved in them. But let’s be real for a moment here. Sometimes listening to just yourself is a bad idea. Half of the ratchet things I did freshman year were from my a) lack of sleep and b) lack of seeing the repercussions down the road.

Occasionally someone will know better than you. Whether it is your RA, your advisor, or even your mother. They have the tough job of making sure your life does not end up in complete shambles. With their training and experience, you can assume that they actually know what they’re talking about. Still, there is this fine line that we students must walk. Yes, our own judgment is good to go by. Yes, professional guidance is also very good to go by. How do we know when it’s proper to turn a blind eye to an advisor or when to follow our hearts?

That question is probably why I avoided speaking to advisors my entire freshman year. If I messed up in any situation, I would take full responsibility for all my mistakes.

I never liked doing what others told me to do because it all turned into this huge blame game. It’s so easy to blame someone else for your troubles if it was his or her advice that got you in a crappy situation. You always hear those horror stories about that one senior who got crud advice, followed through with it, and is now the only college senior in a high school sex ed course. I am honestly kidding about the latter part of that scenario, but you do from time to time hear Greek tragedy about The Senior Who Got Crap Advice.

That does nothing but make me panic. I start asking myself if it’s all too late. Because I didn’t take statistics freshman year, does that mean I’ll be a hobo? Does not taking anatomy mean I’ll never understand human physiology and therefore die? The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s will always haunt you.

Maybe sometimes all you can do is blame yourself when a mistake is made. You chose to listen to him instead of yourself. Or sometimes you chose to listen to yourself rather than your advisor. Maybe walking the fine line between complete dependence on others and independence is more of a waddle. A waddle that has one foot in independence and the other in dependence. That awkward shuffle between the two may even eliminate this “blame game.” In fact, the blame could easily be eliminated because frankly, shit just happens. If shit does happen, then maybe all we can do is make the best of it.

Stephen Kolison is a sophomore psychology major and pre-unemployment student. He is a jack of all trades and master of none in training, a member of IMPROVment and knits while watching Downton Abbey. He hopes to be a talk show host.