Column: Family expectations shouldn’t override your passions

While you may seek the approval of your parents, following your dreams is important in life.

A Facebook post that I saw a couple days ago had me thinking about something almost all of us face: expectations.

It is one of the reasons why we go to college. Our teachers worked hard teaching us in order to get us into a successful career path — those are the expectations from teachers and professors. Our parents are sending us to college to get an education and a degree eventually, in order for us to get into the workforce, earn money and support ourselves — those are the expectations from our parents.

When I first came to America, I heard people in the school talking about how their parents encouraged them to follow their interests or to follow their dreams. However, I also heard from a lot of people who came from China, saying that they are expected to choose a path that can help them find a payable job after graduation and make money for a living.

I remember talking to a friend about her hobby of drawing. No matter how much she loves drawing, she has to major in marketing in order to find a decent job after graduation. I specifically remember when she said, “I don’t think I will be a famous painter and make a career out of it.”

I don’t think I can argue with her, but I think it is really sad to do something she does not love for the rest of her life.

I am fortunate that my parents are supportive of my passion and decisions. I am lucky that they allow me to follow my dream to pursue a career I would enjoy. My parents sent me to college in the States, 8,000 miles away from home, to pursue a college education. I would not be in school if it were not for them. However, many people are not as lucky as I am. There are lots of expectations bearing down on students from their families.

I always think that people do a better job when they are passionate and enjoy what they do. The result of something that was done unwillingly will not be as good as something that was done with passion and love. So here is my advice that I have for my friend, who did not get to study or major in what she would enjoy.

First, you want to get to know what your strengths are. What you are good at? Are you good at drawing? Are you good at playing music?

Second, acknowledge what makes you happy. When you are doing something that makes you happy, you tend to do it better than doing something you dislike.

Last but not least, do not be afraid to share this information with your parents. I know it is hard sometimes to tell your parents that you’re interested in something else than what they want you to focus on. But let them know you are not against them; you could talk it out about your passion and your plans. Despite their high expectations of you, you could always double major or minor in something that you like.

It is not wrong to have a hobby and be happy while you live up to your parents’ expectations. Life is too short to do something that does not excite you for the rest of your life.

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