Barbara Simmons

Decisions: Do you have the patience...

High school counselor Barbara Simmons joins us today in our ongoing series of reflections, advice and practical guidance for students and parents on all things decisions. Read on to find out how an ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching, also known as "The Way," may offer some guidance: 


Decision – that word even has the sound of  ‘final’ –landing on the suffix of ‘ion’ – ‘zuhn.’ "Decision” originates from the Latin which means “to settle” on something – having cut off other options.

The definitions provided for decision refer to making a judgment – making up one’s mind – and, perhaps like many of you, I frequently have a difficult time making up my mind – even though I know the satisfied and grateful feeling I have when I DO make up my mind.  But the “trick” or “key” to decision-making comes well before the “making up one’s mind".  Decision making has as its foundation knowing our minds well enough to make our minds up, to settle on something without regrets.

Especially for members of the senior class in high school, there ARE decisions that arise in different times in one’s life that must be made when two seemingly VERY GOOD options appear. But it has also happened that two choices appear that would seem to be clearly marked as “good decision” vs. “bad decision” and circumstance might have us choose the seemingly less desirable option.

Be yourself! Everybody else is taken...

High school counselor Barbara Simmons joins us today to examine the meaning of the directive to "Be yourself!" in the college application -- and provides some steps for getting there. Heads up, juniors! The time to start thinking about this is now.


With all of the resolutions swirling around in January when everything is fresh and new – I propose a resolution for all students embarking upon their search for those colleges that will become their new educational and social homes in a year and a half.  So, this resolution is for you, the juniors in high school, heading towards your 2nd semester of junior year.

Resolved:  I will continue to “know myself”.

Many of you will think that this aphorism, “know thyself”, has been both overused and around since ancient Greece – at times a proverb used to help those who boasted about themselves, “exceeding what they actually were,” and at times a “warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude." .  How many times have you heard “know who you are?” from a counselor or educator or parent?  How many questionnaires have you answered with this as the guiding theme?