Don’t make me do nursing!

A college student has torn between her own dreams and her parents’ insistence on a nursing major.

It’s a tricky conversation, says our elder, but you have to tell them what you want. Welcome to adulthood!

Dear EWC

I’m currently going to be a sophomore in college this coming fall. I have changed my major twice on the account of my parents repeatedly changing their minds on allowing me to pursue the major I want to do. This past semester they had officially set their minds on me being a nursing major. I hated that decision. But I didn’t want to let them down so I went on with it anyways. I absolutely hate it. No disrespect to nurses, it’s an amazing profession and it’s what both my parents do. But, I just don’t have a medical bone in my body. I secretly had to drop one of the nursing courses towards the end of the year because I was failing miserably no matter how hard I tried and how long I studied. I just know that if I continue I will continue to fail. I’ve had my dream major/plan/career in my mind if for years, I’ve just never had the guts to tell them. I know I’ll be amazing and I know I’ll work hard on my dreams. What should I do? Should I just continue down this road and become a (terrible) nurse for my parents? Or should I go after my dreams?

Sageworthy replies

Congratulations on completing one year of college. That is a real accomplishment. I can certainly tell that you are torn between the idea of pursuing your own dreams and wanting to please your parents. Dropping a class and changing majors must have been very stressful for you. In my opinion, career choice is a very personal decision. Life is so much more satisfying if you are doing work you enjoy. It would miserable to go to a job you didn’t like day after day for forty years. Being a nurse myself, and as you alluded to, I am not sure you would even survive the training if your heart is elsewhere. Personally, I found the nursing profession to be satisfying in some ways, yet extremely stressful.

You are all grown up. It’s time to have a calm, frank and heartfelt discussion with your parents. You have a right to determine your own destiny. I know you are probably nervous about the thought of sitting down with your parents to have this talk, but what is your alternative? It has to be done. Pleasing yourself vs pleasing others is sometimes a difficult choice to make. In your situation, a career path is way too important and serious to be chosen in order to please someone else, with all due respect to your parents. Also, I fear, if you continue on the path they want, you may come to resent them. Then you will have a career you don’t like and ill feelings towards your parents. Such a depressing situation to be in.

My husband and I are both in healthcare careers. Jobs in the medical field tend to be secure and withstand downturns in the economy. Perhaps that is why your parents are pushing so hard for you to go into nursing. We have four children. We did encourage them to go into the health field… perhaps this is natural inclination for parents, as people in the medical field tend to be highly respected (especially nurses). What parent wouldn’t want their child to be in a well respected, fairly secure, and stable profession? I am trying to understand your parents’ thinking a bit here. That being said, none of our four children went into the medical field! They all found their way and are, for the most part, pleased with their careers. In my eyes, because they crafted their own career path and have a solid work ethic, they will always be “successful.” Each one of them makes me proud.

I think and hope your parents will be proud of you, no matter what your career choice. Please lift yourself free of the heavy burden you now carry. You deserve a future of self-determination. There will be challenges, disappointments and self doubts along the way. We all have that, as each decision we make opts out of something else. Welcome to adulthood, LOL. Be brave, talk to your parents. The experience will be a step in the right directions towards growth and maturity. I wish you well in all your future endeavors. Feel free to write us again.

Letter #: 405992
Category: School

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