Don’t Let Your Parents Choose Your School

Many students feel pressured by their parents to pick certain schools, majors, or careers. It’s great to listen to your parents and get their advice – after all they’ve done a pretty good job raising you so far, so their ideas must not be that crazy. But when it comes to deciding on the path you want your life to take, the decision should be made by you – and you alone.

Parents want their children to be happy and safe. Any encouragement or discouragement regarding your college or career choice comes from this very profound and understandable instinct to protect. Your parents don’t want you to get hurt. Getting hurt means worrying about money, being disappointed, having your dreams crushed, coming into contact with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or having to redefine your goals later on if you realize that your original goals aren’t attainable for whatever reason.

But what parents sometimes have trouble with is the idea that they can’t protect their children from pain forever. Parents tend to think they can do this. But at some point in their lives, children have to start making their own decisions about what they want.

And that point in your life is called “college.”

If you don’t pursue your passions in college, when else will you be able to? If you don’t at least try to go for your dream career, even if it’s not “practical,” you’re going to wind up resenting yourself, AND your parents, for never taking the chance. The economic climate looks very different today than it did when your parents were deciding on their careers, and many of their concerns no doubt come from fears about financial instability. But truthfully, it’s extremely difficult to predict what the economy will look like by the time you’re out of college. So you might as well do what you love.

But don’t be lazy: work ridiculously hard, try to distinguish yourself, and go for honors and internships. You’ll be proud of yourself, and your parents will be, too.

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