Embracing Agency Leads to Better Decisions

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will do in the next moment”. (John-Paul Flintoff, How to Change the World, 2012)

As humans we make decisions constantly. Will I get out of bed when my alarm goes off? Or will I head to snooze town? What will I eat for breakfast? Or should I outright skip it?

A lot of these decisions are unconscious, second nature. We make them without even realising. Some of them, however are big, so big we lose sleep over them.

Each year around 70,000 NSW students graduate from high school. Each year, these students must decide: what next? Each year, students spend hours deliberating on this (it’s one of those big guys I was talking about before).

It’s a funny time. As a child and as a student you are constantly told what to do. You are guided day in and day out by your parents, friends, teachers and idols. So when this decision hits you, it hits you like a tonne of bricks. On the one hand you want this decision, like all others that have come before it to be made for you. But on the other hand, you cannot wait to unleash your independence.

I faced this decision myself a mere four years ago. I knew I wanted to go to uni but I had no idea what I wanted to study. I let the picturesque sandstone of Sydney University alongside my motley crew of mates choose my course for me and in hindsight, I want to tell you this:

Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do. No friend, no teacher, no parent, no idol. Listen to them, soak up their knowledge and experience but at the end of the day remember: this decision is yours and no one else’s.

Don’t want to listen to me? Listen to John-Paul instead and don’t simply exist… decide what you will do in the next moment. Don’t just study what your best friend’s dad did back in the 70’s. And don’t just study something because it’s the cool thing to do. Study what YOU want to study. Study something YOU are interested in.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with this very decision, tell them to check out the Course Resource*, it may just spark that lightbulb moment!


The Course Resource by projectHUNI allows students to search for their course via interest rather than the narrow criteria of ATAR and institution.