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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
reflecting Offline
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Thumbs down parental achievement pressure(on me); graduation looming... - December 8th 2009, 05:25 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering by the original poster or by a Moderator. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

(I am not sure if I have chosen the prefix correctly; forgive me if it's wrong, or if it isn't even needed.)

This summer I am graduating. Ever since I begun my last year, my parents have asked me at least once a week what I plan to do with my life. (I started school in early August, it is now December. How many weeks is that? How many times have they asked the question now?)

That my answers remains either "I do not know", "Give me time" or "I'm exploring possibilities", along with a few other evasive answers does not seem to please them. Understandable, considering the high expectations they have set upon me since I was able to understand failure was bad and success was good and resulted in that pleasant warm fuzz as I was praised rather than scolded in form of silent disappointment. The latter is what is mainly contributing to my emotional struggle at this time.

I've just turned 18 this October and although I am an adult in the eyes of my government I will remain a child in my parents eyes and I've got enough self-awareness to recognize that I'm still stuck between childhood and adulthood, and therefore, is neither in its entirety. Thus I acknowledge a parent's desire for their child's successful future.

However, that does not make their treatment of me and my future less unpleasant. I wish they would decide how to treat this matter; as if I was a child ignorant of my own will, or an almost-adult with the right and capability to make my own choices and learn from them. The latter does not seem possible in any way but theory, since although they may claim to let me have the final say, emotionally, they are driven to reject any pondering, thoughts or opinions I have that does not match their own.

Which is why I am unwilling to discuss my plans with them.

There is very little that is more unsettling and painful than the disappointment of my parents, and when I express no desire for immediately continuing my studies their reactions are suffocating.

It's in the silence that greets my suggestions, in that shared look over the dinner table, the sudden coldness in their body language and the immediate frowns. Then they express their own suggestions, and I find myself agreeing and nodding and promising I will give it more thought.

Then the next time when they ask what University I am going to attend, I once again answer with some variation of "I don't know" and it beings all over again.

It is getting tiresome, and I realize I must start discussing this matter with them but I'm quite the coward. Because what I know I want to do will probably bring forth a lot of hurt, and on their part, disappointment.

I don't want to start studying at the University directly after my graduation. Not only because I am tired of school and really need a break, but because I am utterly and helplessly at a loss of what to study.

I feel the choice of study is not something that can be forced. I don't want to just pick what sounds most appealing solely for the sake of studying. I don't want to take that line of study and regret it three years down the road and change to another program to start all over.

I want time to figure out what I want, and the constant pressure of my parents and my weakness to their wishes are not what I need.

So what I have planned so far is to get a job over the summer after graduation, save money, maybe continue working into autumn if my funds are not satisfactory, then go travelling. I am definitely going to the USA first, to meet my closet friends. I'll have places to stay, and will hopefully be able to be there for a few months.

The problem with this is that I don't know if I'll be allowed to stay at home if I choose to work instead of study. I don't think they'll kick me out, but I don't know if I'll be able to bare living with them. It pains me that I'm having thoughts of looking up an apartment and settle my plans for work and moving out without discussing it with them. It would be a relief to just leave, but extremely unfair.

So I am at a stand-still until I can summon up the courage to speak with my parents properly.

I just needed to get all this off my chest. I'll be impressed if someone managed to read the whole thing through, it's a lot of text.

I apologize for the language; English isn't my first and I have some trouble expressing myself emotionally with it. Thus the rather clinical approach...well, it sounds pretty formal as I read it myself. Oh well.

Thanks, if you've read this, and thank you in advance if you reply.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
thisiscourtney Offline
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Re: parental achievement pressure(on me); graduation looming... - December 10th 2009, 01:30 AM

To start out, please forgive me if this advice is horrible. I rarely ever give advice, but your situation is very similar to mine. Graduation is coming soon and my parents aren't asking what I want to do, but I have told them my decisions and it is obvious they don't approve. I just have no idea how I'm going to get anywhere without their help.

I think the first thing you need to do is realize that this is your life and no one else's. I'm sure you already have, and I have, too, but I haven't acted upon it. It is best to make decisions without other people in mind.

You should sit down with your parents and tell them about the stress of schooling, and that you would be interested in a gap year. I have done some research on them for myself, and universities generally accept them, and some even prefer their students to have skipped a year.

When you get around to telling them, make it extremely clear that you do plan on eventually studying and that you're not just using "I need some time" as an excuse. That would most likely be what they're worried about.

But really, tell them your plans and don't just leave. You've said it yourself that they desire a successful future which means they care for you, and I'm sure your leaving would be much worse on them than taking a break year.

I hope that helped. By the way, your english is awesome.
  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: parental achievement pressure(on me); graduation looming... - December 10th 2009, 05:23 AM

I was in the same situation you were in a few years ago when I had to make my decisions of what to do and where to apply. The second question oddly enough became the easiest because I ended up applying to a bunch of places as I really had no idea which one to go to. My reasoning was I'd apply to a bunch and some may not take me, which limits my choices making it easier. It didn't exactly go that way because I got into a bunch, some with scholarships and so that plan pretty much back-fired in my face. It was a rather unusual situation because getting the acceptance letters was amazing but ending up with a bunch of them staring at you and you staring at them made it even more difficult. My choice came down simply to the one that was closest, cost the least and is one of the best in Canada (where I live). I didn't care if I went to one of the best or a middle-ranked one but my parents pointed out over and over that since I can commute, it would cost less. That ended up being my overall decision why I am where I am. I find that it's an amazing place now that I'm here and so that's another reason to stay where I am.

The harder question though was what to study. Naturally I was interested in medicine or thereabouts but when I took courses in statistics and mathematics in university either as first and second year courses, I loved those also and so it sent me back to the drawing board.

The way I chose it was actually a rather ironic one. I never took psychology in high-school or APS, and so I always thought it was a lot to do with emotions, personalities, etc..., all of which I wasn't too keen with spending the rest of my life engaging in. However I took the course out of curiousity because I heard good things and was a bit curious about it overall. Where I am now is a mix of psychology and biology (bio I was interested in already in high-school).

Wherever you choose to go, the first-year courses are likely to be about the same. They're all introductory courses and I took a variety of them, even if I wasn't all too thrilled, I did them anyways just to get a taste of what there was and since I had to take more courses other than a few first-year bio courses. So take a variety of courses and see what you like. You don't need to declare your program in first-year (unless schools in Sweden are very different from here) because that's meant more for second year and beyond.
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senken.0 Offline
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Re: parental achievement pressure(on me); graduation looming... - December 10th 2009, 07:42 PM

You're just going to have to get the guts up, and talk to them. You're going to need have the mindset "Unless I like what my parents are suggesting I'm not going to give it thought." but for the time being you could say "do you have some suggestions?"
"What would a good university for (insert field here) be?" Just so it's not so elusive as to you don't have anything figured out yet.
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