How Do I Convince My Parents About My Course of Choice?

After shouting all around the house that I would like to be a Medical doctor during my childhood days, I ended up choosing Computer science and Engineering when it was time to choose! The truth was that, just like many, I didn’t actually know what course to study during my teenage years but I had to make a choice before it was too late.

It was only after I had a delay with my admission that I realized my passion.

Few years later- after the institution which had admitted me to study Computer science and Engineering went on a very long strike – I started considering sitting for another Jamb and fortunately for me (or so I thought), I already knew where my passion lies and what I really wanted to study.

One day, my dad called me – “What course do you really want to study”, he asked. “Music”, I replied. That simple question led to a disagreement as they argued that Music cannot be my major course of study. Unfortunately for me, my dad had friends who had this same desire when they were about my age and they failed.

My mum and every other immediate family member couldn’t just understand how ‘foolish’ I could be to make such a decision. Even my Granddad who is a lover of Music didn’t agree. They thought I wanted to be the next Wizkid (as that’s their closest imagination of who a musician is). As you might have guessed – it was a ‘die hard’ journey.

Few years have passed since then and I am still not studying music as my major (at least for now). But within these years, I have learnt vital lessons which I wish I had learnt earlier as they would have helped me convince my family. I have also been able to fight off -and still fighting – the frustration that comes from studying what I don’t really want to.

{Read: Should I Study What My Parents Want or What I want?}

Truths I Have Learnt That You Should Consider

I understand how crazy it might feel as you’re trying to comprehend why your parents just wouldn’t let you study what you want to. You might even be thinking they hate you and want you to live your life for them.

But despite all these, you have to understand and accept that they really do love you. They are not stopping you from studying that course you love because they hate you. They are acting out of love and they are only scared you might not be successful in that field. Now, which parent wants their child to be a failure?

One of the reasons why they are scared is because most of these fields/career paths we are passionate about are not the popular ones around nor the ones with the most ‘interesting’ earnings (at least how most people, including our parents, reason).

For instance, when I said I would love to study music, my parents (my whole family actually) gave me reasons why it wouldn’t and/or cannot work. They gave me more than enough examples of the ones who have failed.

My mum used a music director (who actually studied music and wasn’t doing well financially) in our church as an example.

My dad gave me examples of hip-hop singers that didn’t make it so far (if only he could understand my explanations about what music actually is). My granddad told me about how music could just be my side hustle and why it shouldn’t be my major.

All they could see was a lazy boy trying to find an easy way out! And because they love me so much and don’t want me to spend the rest of my life in poverty, they gave me one thousand and one reasons why I wouldn’t make enough money in Music and insisted I go study a professional course first even if I would later go for music.

The above illustration is what I mean by ‘they love you and want the best for you’ and believe me – that’s our parents greatest fear.

They don’t want us to wallow in poverty and they think going for a professional course would at least give us a better chance of sustenance and survival.

Yes, they may be right but it’s not always true. Even the ones studying a professional and ‘popular’ course which promises a great earning have its ups and downs.

So, like I have said earlier – first of all accept the fact that their action is solely based on their love for you and they do not want us to make a mistake. They don’t want us to make a decision we would regret in the future. They strongly believe we don’t know what we are doing.

Now, after you have acknowledged their love for you, reason with them a little bit. Like my dad would say, ‘the gray hair on a man symbolizes years of experience and not necessarily old age’. The advice of an elderly one avails much.

Before you fight them, make sure you take time to think about it and ask yourself salient questions like:

  • Can I be passionate about my side hustle at least for the four years I would be in college?
  • What are the opportunities that could come out of this?
  • Am I not really being lazy?

I am not saying you should sacrifice your dreams. I am saying you should be realistic and search yourself if you’re being genuine about it or just trying to find an easy way out indeed.

It’s natural to always think that one cannot make a way in a field while one would definitely make waves in another. But as true as that is – it isn’t always the case. So, like I said earlier, don’t you lie to yourself!

After you have searched yourself deep down and you still want to go down the line you choose, sit down with your parents and discuss. Give them genuine reasons.

Let them know that you’re not trying to be lazy but only trying to follow your heart. Give them the statistics of how profitable your course of choice could be too.

Tell them about the ones that are making waves in that same field and how there’s no line of career that guarantees financial success as it were.

There are broke doctors and also rich ones. There are Architects who beg for contracts while there are some living large. There are Bankers living in debt while some others swim in wealth.

All these fields have their ups and downs. Times when it’s all smiles and times when the smile won’t be so bright. But in all this, the one who is in that field which he truly loves and finds fulfillment would stay joyful still regardless of the ups and downs; because he would still have something more than money to hold on to: joy!

{Read: Keep Your Passion Burning Amidst Life Challenges}

After you have stayed persistent and explained all to them and they agree – good for you! Congratulations! But if they do not agree still – Congratulations also! There’s an advantage to that and it’s not yet over. Don’t give up just yet.

Let me explain:

The course you’re studying or the one you are asked to study is going to take 4 to 6 years of your lifetime! Yes, I know that sounds kind of too long but it would end one day and your life still continues and you can still decide what you want to do afterwards.

Give it your best shot. Don’t slack because you don’t like it. Give it all you can because what’s worth doing at all is worth doing well.

You can keep your passion on your ‘right hand’. Use those years to learn as much as you can about it. Take online courses. Go for seminars. Watch videos online. Follow the ones already where you want to be, on social media and see what they are doing. Save up money and start thinking about what you can do and the materials you might need. Meet people and question them and so on.

By the time you’re done with that other course, you still have many more years waiting for you and you can now choose.

Perhaps you still want to earn with that degree (because you just might have fallen in love with it and want to do more with it) or you would like to pursue your passion head on. You can even decide to do both! It just means that you would make your passion about your main focus while that other one would be at your right hand ready for use at any time.

Yes, it could be frustrating and may not be so easy to slide through. Every time you have a problem with the course, instead of thinking of how to solve it, you would think things would be better if you were studying what you actually love. Well, that is not always true.

If you didn’t have the chance to go for your passion in the first instance, it isn’t the end of the world. See it as an opportunity and not as a loss or waste of time.

A lecturer of mine once explained to me how we humans can achieve whatever we set our minds to achieve. You might even fall in love with it at the end of the day and if not, you would have two fields which you can shuffle between. It would also become an added advantage to you. You would meet new people. You would get new connections which you may never get if you didn’t study that course.

More interestingly, you would meet the ones with the same challenge as you and tap into how they are fighting through it and also their plans. So, keep your head up!

You can achieve that which you set your mind on. Time has not been wasted; you have gained more knowledge. But make sure you never drop your passion. Let your parents know you still love it and would still do more about it. You can do it and you would be fine and better.

Have you been in this state before? How did you handle it? I will like to hear from you in the comments below.

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