Confusion Corner: Planning ahead not always the best plan

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February 24, 2011

11:41 PM

College students are notoriously unreliable when it comes to committing to plans. Any activity that requires commitment at least one week in advance is generally unadvisable. The likelihood of successfully coordinating a trip or event with more than one other person is also generally a bad idea. Why is this? Why are we, as a group, so hard to pin down? Are we unreliable because of our age, or because we simply have so much going on in our lives?

Because I have encountered this phenomenon of non-committal college friends a bit too frequently recently, I want to get to the bottom of this phenomenon. First, I must admit that I have, at times, been the offending party. Over this past winter vacation, for example, a group of my friends valiantly attempted to organize a ski trip to Vermont. Spoiler alert: The trip was a resounding success. But judging from the weeks leading up to the trip to the slopes, no one actually thought anyone else was going to show up. I actually postponed committing until the day of the trip, when I flew standby to the Northeast. Now, I ask you, what normal human being can function under these kinds of planning conditions? I consider myself an organized, punctual, planning-is-fun-and-rewarding kind of person, but even so, I still couldn’t be counted on to commit to a trip until literally the last possible moment.

I am guessing that many of you have encountered this frustrating phenomenon over the past couple weeks when trying to formulate plans for spring break. These types of plans often prove to be the most difficult for people to commit to because they involve money. Shocking, I know. I’ve come to realize that any sort of event that requires people to commit to forking over dough is a lost cause. We are college students, after all.

I have recently again fallen victim to the non-committal planning bug. This past week, the set list for this summer’s Bonnaroo music festival was released. After pouring over the artists who would be performing, I decided that it is absolutely necessary that I attend. I have never gone before, and I figure there will be no better time to go than the summer following college graduation when I am footloose and fancy free. So, naturally, I began texting, mailing and calling all of my friends who might be game for some Bonnarooing in June. However, I soon began to realize that, although I might very well have nothing to do in June, I might actually have a job. Yes, that’s right. That would mean I will be working five days a week, eight hours a day, for someone who might not understand that I have made a prior commitment to go camping in the middle of Tennessee for the weekend to listen to some sweet music and engage in general merriment. The issue of how a college grad might fund such an excursion also poses problems. So, as you might have guessed, I, too, have become the friend who hesitates to make decisions, postpones any definite commitments, and waffles back and forth for weeks on end.

While I obviously cannot insist that every college student toughen up and learn how to make decisions like a mature person, the one piece of advice I can offer is to never disregard the utility of binding contracts. And just remember, the feeling you will have when you successfully get a group of friends together for a shindig will make all the difficulty worthwhile.

__Emily Walker is a confusion corner columnist. She wants to hang out with you sometime next week, maybe.__

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