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Talking to parent about school/jobs/all that fun stuff

(20 Posts)
IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 05:49:22

Hi, so I apologize in advance because this doesn't belong in AIBU but I'm really upset right now and I just don't know what to do...and since you guys seem to have a lot more life experience than me, I thought I'd trying asking for advice. I'll try to keep it short and sweet:

I'm an American college student, and as I'm sure you know, college is really expensive here. While I won't make assumptions about everyone, I will say that in my circle of friends (and at my college), it's 100% assumed your parents are paying or signing off your loans for college unless they don't have the means to. So this means that my parent is supporting me through college and I really couldn't do it without parental help. I think this is a huge cultural difference because our colleges are so expensive - I honestly don't know anyone who's paying for college here without their parents unless they're on full scholarship. (And I'm sure that not everyone in my country is like this but in terms of who I know this is how it is)

Over the course of my college career, I've come to the conclusion that what I originally came to college for just isn't for me. Now that's fine because it's really easy to switch around your major here, and it's not a big deal for me to do that. I've decided on something I think I'll like better (economics).

The problem is that my parent doesn't believe I should switch, or if I do switch, I need to be going into engineering, computer science, or finance. I honestly would just go off and do what I want, but my parent has said that they'll cut off all financial support. They don't believe that economics is a viable major, while I think it's pretty applicable (but also this may be just me I'm only 20 so I'm not trying to pretend I know shit about the world). They think that I'll end up working at Starbucks on minimum wage, so they're not going to support me if I do this. Basically I've been getting a lot of "you're not going anywhere in life, you're not going to get a job, have fun working at McDonald's" kind of thing.

I guess my question is now, do you have any advice on how to talk to my parent? I ended up crying, and we were only texting, so I know with an actual phone call it'll be even worse. Any advice about any of this post would be really appreciated. I know that because my parent is supporting me, I do need to take their considerations into account, but what they suggest I do is not what I want to do. Also if anyone has a degree in economics, how did you find your job prospects? (Is my parent right? Are they really that awful?) Really, if you guys think that I should do what my parent says then I'll take your advice on board - I promise I'm not here just to ignore all your advice or troll you guys or anything awful! :D

Thank you in advance for any and all advice! (And sorry again that this isn't in the right section...and also that this post didn't end up being very short or sweet).

EarthboundMisfit Wed 29-Jun-16 05:57:20

I have no good advice fo you, but wanted to offer sympathy as I was in a similar situation..years ago now. I did change and it's all worked out in the end. What's your current major?

Ditsy4 Wed 29-Jun-16 06:10:48

Would one of the economics tutors phone them and set their minds at rest.

University is expensive here too. I supported my daughter all the way through. Luckily she started before they put the fees up. Most unis minimum is £9,000 a year now but the major ones are a lot more.

IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 06:16:38

I'm currently a psychology major on the pre-med track (which since none of my friends know what this is, I should probably explain; it's a set of science/math classes you need to apply to American (and possibly Canadian?) medical schools). After tons of soul searching I've realized I haven't wanted to be a doctor for a long time now.

It's good to hear that you're doing well! Or if not well, well, you do sound pretty content to me. smile That's all I'm looking for really

TheSkiingGardener Wed 29-Jun-16 06:24:15

That's a big change. Are your parents the type to have gone around telling everyone about their amazing offspring that's going to be a doctor? If so, their pride is bruised.

Can you find out from the economics department what % of graduates go on to graduate level jobs. That seems to be a big thing departments here boast about.

Could you also have a discussion with your parents about why you just don't feel you want to be a doctor any more? Don't bring the economics into it, just discuss what you feel about medicine and why it's no longer for you.

Hippee Wed 29-Jun-16 06:30:27

I'm pretty sure that there's lots of research that shows that people do better when they are studying a subject that they enjoy and that there's more chance of people dropping out if they are forced to do something that they don't. How would your parents feel if you did drop out? I don't know about the US, but in the UK, economics is a subject that many people would choose, before going into finance, consultancy, etc.

branofthemist Wed 29-Jun-16 06:35:20

I would send them an email with your plan on. Tell them what you plan to use your qualifications to do. Show them it's not a decision you have taken lightly and you have a new career path you want to follow.

It sounds like they think you are making the decision without thinking about it properly.

IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 06:35:36

Ditsy It's frustrating because honestly my parent is the conspiracy/suspicious type. So my parent would (and does actually) think something like "your college is trying to con you out of money and is lying to you." They really do have the confirmation bias going on where only sources that agree with them are true and sources that don't are lying. But I will email an advisor at least and ask if they could send me some info or talk to my parent, it's worth a try at least.

I didn't know it was that bad in the UK-I always thought you guys were a haven of nearly free higher education! It's sad because like yours, even our state colleges are expensive, doesn't feel like they're being funded by the government at all.

VoleSnuffle Wed 29-Jun-16 06:37:05

Ditsy with respect the cost of college in the USA is astronomical compared to what we pay, a top college would cost $50k a year in fees.

Iced Does your college have statistics of how many people graduating a particular course and does it show what percentage of students go on to have a job in that field?

That is how lots of student in the UK decide how successful they will be in their chosen field if they attend one particular college/university over another.

Also try to talk to your parents about being miserable in your course, maybe an email would be better than a text. Tell them you have thought long and hard about it.

Surely an economics course would be shorter and cheaper than going on to med school and the costs associated with it too.

Do you think your parents have believed for so long that their daughter will be a doctor that you are taking away some of that dream and that is also clouding their judgement about this?

We experienced something similar, I met my husband whilst he was at University and he decided although his degree was going to be in one thing he wanted to work in a different field and his parents went off the deep end. He was 22 and that was almost 20 years ago. He has had a very successful career which they have had to acknowledge.

VoleSnuffle Wed 29-Jun-16 06:38:46

Massively crossed post with everyone, I got interrupted half way through typing my response grin

deathtoheadlice Wed 29-Jun-16 06:55:33

I think the hours, workload and memorisation of a medical degree and residency would be hell if you didn't want to be there. Might be hard to get in, get a residency etc. Could you focus on low percentages of pre med students who actually get in to top med programs?

nooka Wed 29-Jun-16 06:58:32

I wonder if this is because Economics is sometimes considered to be an Arts course, and people have prejudices about the Arts leading to un or under employment (hence the Starbucks comment)? I think that you need to do your research and look at what career options are open to you if you do choose Economics. Your parent is making a huge investment in you and they obviously hope that investment will pay off and can only think of that in quite traditional terms (doctor, engineer etc). So I'd take a careful look at the course you are interested in and check that it really does give you good options for the future. If your parent is OK with finance then you might want to look at Economics with a finance minor (they are often taught in the same school and will have lots of cross over so should be easy to combine). Also check co-op options, as that offers an easier route to employment.

Generally I'd say Economics was an excellent route into employment, but it depends on how good you are, how highly rated your school is, what specialisms you decide on, what you actually want to do and the job market when you graduate too.

IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 07:00:21

I'm typing really slowly right now (on my phone and trying to sound vaguely rational) and am really interested in any/all replies, so sorry if I take long to respond!

Skiing You've got it, I think-I already come from a family with a lot of expectations of an obedient, good daughter (east asian family), and I know the thought of me being a doctor is just *insert superlative here. I like the thought of talking more about why I don't want to go into medicine. At least from there maybe we could talk about what other things I'd be interested in rather than me being directed at and feeling like I have to rebel.

Hippee Honestly, that's what I thought. I always thought that econ was a pretty good start for going into business or finance. Or if I wanted to, I could do an MBA or go to grad school for econ. And my school has a strong economics department, so I feel like at the least, if I work hard, I will manage to get a job. But of course, I'm not an expert, so I'm definitely willing to listen here. As for dropping out, my family would have a heart attack, so maybe that is a point to hammer home. I'm doing fine right now, but it's hard to make myself want to go the extra mile when I really really hate chemistry.

bran Your last line really strikes true. While I've been thinking about this for a long time, they certainly don't know that. I probably do sound like I just made a spur of the moment decision with no logic behind it. In reality, this entire year I've known that what I was studying wasn't what I wanted to be studying but I didn't feel like I could admit it. It sounds like email is the way to go to sort my thoughts out.

Ditsy4 Wed 29-Jun-16 07:25:31

Yes I see that they are very expensive I just got the impression that IcedApples ( correctly as it seems) thought our students didn't need parental help too.

Parents get worried that their child is doing the right thing IcedApples I'm sorry if yours are not listening. Could you switch to an international uni? For the experience and then switch courses? So what are you studying now that they are so rigid about?

user1465823522 Wed 29-Jun-16 07:26:52

I paid for uni myself as my parents weren't able to to support me, so I only ever had to answer to myself on decisions - I would hate to have to explain my choices to my folks, so I can totally understand yur position.

I would say that you need to think about the course you are doing / choosing and why you want to do it. How employable will it make you? Don't do anything lightly.

DetestableHerytike Wed 29-Jun-16 07:33:02

Do you have an idea what job you want? Can you see what qualifications those with that job typically have?

An MBA would be a further expense, of course,

Can you take sufficient electives to keep your options opèn in finance or computer science, which your parents seem to support?

MidniteScribbler Wed 29-Jun-16 07:43:30

Will it mean going back to the beginning and starting again, or can you claim credits for the study you have already done? I can see why they would be annoyed if they have already paid out for a year or so and it has been totally wasted.

We're on a different system here (Australia) and I've always thought that I would pay for one course for DS when he is older if he chooses to go down that route so he's not starting a career with a debt, but I wouldn't be happy to finance unlimited changes to courses and switching.

IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 07:44:28

Vole A lot of things to think about, thank you! I would say that what you said about the dream of me being a doctor is really spot on. And I guess it's hard to take because I've shown no outward indication (until now) of not wanting to do it anymore. And yeah, the costs of college here are a reason why I know I can't just take out loans on my own and do what I want. I do go to one of those schools unfortunately ($50k+) so I can't just tell my parents they can't tell me what to do because, well, actually they can.

death That's a big part of why I've come to realize I don't want to be a doctor (or rather, why I don't feel like I can go through with it after figuring out I don't want to be one). Honestly, if it were just a normal four (or even five) year course, I would suck it up. But the thought of the rest of my undergrad then med school then residency is horrifying. It might give them something to think about to realize that if I'm not 100% committed I honestly probably can't get in.

nooka I was doing some research, and it seems that you're right that some people don't look very highly upon it. I think at some schools it's a joke major, but the economics department at my school is strong/well-regarded. Not that this is a definite ranking, but my friends in the major say that it's hard but doable. I'd hope to take courses in the business school too, so something like finance like you say would be something to look into. As for the job market, well, that'll come down to Trump or Hillary.

Thank you everyone again for the advice. And sorry for the long blocks of text. There's a lot to think about, and responding is making me have to justify myself and focus on things I wouldn't have - so, basically, good practice for when I write up my email!

IcedApples Wed 29-Jun-16 08:27:47

Ditsy I think it'd be hard because I'm not sure if my courses are that transferable, American colleges are really different and I think most if not all have a fair amount of core classes that we need to take-like I've got a bunch of requirements specific to my school out of the way, but not that useful to anyone else. I'm studying psychology and pre-med. I've actually taken economics before and liked it but didn't want to study it because I thought the workload of economics and pre-med would be too hard!... (you have to take a set of classes to be able to apply to med school, depending on the med school it's generally 2x gen chemistry, 2x biology, 2x organic chemistry, 2x physics, calculus, 2x english, and psychology and biochem is recommended). And then on top of that, you need to be doing internships and research and volunteering, to show you have a passion for medicine and for non-medical things, so after sticking with it for a while, I just don't think I'm passionate about it like I should be.

user to be honest, studying classics is my dream, but I know that won't make me employable in the least (hopefully I'll end up with a nice job and can study it at night school someday). So economics as something that's interesting yet is still difficult will hopefully make me employable. But yes definitely - I'm trying to arm myself with facts. The goal for me isn't to study something fun, just to get somewhere where I'll have a decent job.

detestable I can keep on taking electives in computer science and finance, though they'll end up being minors. Though actually, if I mention that I could have one of them as a minor, it might make what I'm doing seem better. Ideally, I'd work as an analyst or in marketing. I'm not planning on going into banking or into Wall Street. I study in a large city, so if it works out, I'd like to be interning and networking with potential employers during the year! Now is the time for internship applications, so I've got to get on that.

Midnite I think American higher education is pretty weird compared to a lot of countries. We usually don't declare our majors until our second year of college-you can if you want to, but there's no rush. There are normally a fair amount of core requirements to get through, so I've been taking classes that aren't necessarily related to my degree per se, but are still necessary (according to my school) for my education. So I guess I've wasted time in that now I'm switching want to do, but it won't actually cost more money (thank god). And even out of the core requirements and our major requirements, we still have even more space for whatever other stuff we feel like doesn't happen a lot, but this is why some people will just graduate in three years because you honestly don't need the fourth year unless you're in nursing or pre-med or something like that. It's why if I decide to major in economics, I'll actually have a chemistry minor from my pre-med days because there are just so many open spaces! Some people double major, but then it gets tricky trying to figure out your schedule and dealing with course progression.

I'm finally sleeping now, but as I keep repeating like a broken record, thank you for all your advice/words/help.

nooka Wed 29-Jun-16 08:42:29

I think if your parents see a clear well thought out plan that leads to a job they consider respectable with good prospects then they will adjust to the idea.

I'm also in North America and higher education is very different to the UK. My ds has just finished grade 11 so thinking about universities and courses, and at the moment is being reassured by all the teachers that want him to do their subject that he can combine all sorts of things. The other day he came home saying that maybe he might take a double major in theoretical physics and politics! Essentially most courses are fairly general with some set prerequisites for the first two years and then you really decide what you want to do for the next two years when you join your specialist department as opposed to being in arts/sciences etc.

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