College Crisis: Ultimatums

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.

ShreelParikh.UltimatumShades of gray is something I’m sick of hearing about. Not the book, although I did get sick of hearing about that, too, but the idea that everything in the world has so many different angles and perspectives that it is nearly impossible to separate issues into two different sides.

That may be true for a lot of things, but sometimes there are clear sides to take and decisions to make. And when it comes to other people, sometimes you need an ultimatum.

The hardest part about ultimatums is the possibility of having to let go of something or someone. Ultimatums are so intense because there is some conflict about personal beliefs or time. You need your roommate to start paying their part of the rent on time so you don’t get kicked out. You need your boyfriend of countless years to either actually commit or let you go so you can move on.

The reason? Most of the time, it’s just for the sake of your own sanity. It may not be a big deal to anyone else in the world, but whatever it is, it’s everything in your world. So what do you do when you have to give someone an ultimatum?

First, think about how you got to this point. Most of the time a situation has spiraled out of control at some point – you’re trying to regain balance. Be sure you’ve tried any other possible way to solve the situation.

Second, assess your feelings and think about how you’ll feel about the different outcomes once you’ve given the ultimatum. Think about your relationship with the person and the different ways they could react.

Third, be reasonable in your expectations. Expect a negative reaction at first. Finally, be ready to let go. It may not be easy but some of the best things in life come when we’re ready to let go and be brave.

There is one thing you have to keep in mind above anything else when it comes to ultimatums. I’m going to let Shakespeare say it, because he said it best: This above all: to thine own self be true.

Photo by Shreel Parikh