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On Choosing a College Course: Placing Your Parents' Wishes Before Your Own
An incoming college freshman shares her story about deciding on a college course.
IMAGE Mark Jesalva

"Oh honey, that seems nice, but...I think you should take up a real course first."

Those were the words my mother uttered when I first told her about my career plans. We were seated at the dining table, my parents and I. Just like any other typical household, conversation stirred up as we were seated for dinner, the only meal we were able to have together on weekdays.

Being in my last year of high school, college applications were fast approaching. My classmates and I were feeling the most pressure we've ever felt in our entire lives. Our guidance counselors started pulling each one of us out of class to talk us through the decision-making process, and although we kept their inspiring words in our hearts, we knew the one thing they wanted us to do: think hard about where we were bound to go next.

I can admit that I, myself, carry an undecided nature within me. When I started becoming aware that I had to think of where I wanted to be in the next ten years, I saw myself in different situations every time. I weighed the pros and cons of every bachelor's degree, and made sure that whatever I wanted to proceed with would make me happy as I gave back to my family.

Which brings us back to the present, as I sat in front of my parents, trying to hide my disbelief at what I thought was something they would be so supportive about. I forced the itty-bittiest of smiles, trying my best to make eye contact and actively nodding in what they had to say.

They continued drawling on about how working in the field of Fine Arts and English wasn't going to make me a promising candidate for the employment pool; how Art and Literature majors were "useless," and how a promising student like me could make it further in life if I took up a degree in business or health sciences.

And like the promising student I was, I sat and listened. For 17 years of my life, my parents have always proven that they know what's best. The few times I did things because I wanted to do them for myself, I always ended up slipping and running back into their embrace. As much as I didn't want to hear about what they wanted me to do this time around, I still thought about it.

Day in and day out, the thought of pursuing what my parents thought were 'practical' courses ran through my mind. It was painful for me to let go of my dream to pursue something in the Arts, but as I continued to dwell on it, I realized that it could possibly be best to follow their wishes.

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I put off filing my application forms because I was still unsure. As much as I wanted to follow my heart, to continue with the plans I already had in mind, to get my degree and work in the field of multimedia and communication, I didn't want to let my parents down. Would I really want to disappoint them this early in my journey?

Then again, compromise is difficult as well especially since I was already so sure of who and what I wanted to become. Would I really want to say goodbye to something I had wanted for so long, just to make my parents happy? Just so that they could be proud of me?

After weeks and months of discerning, I finally knew. I didn't want to keep longing anymore. I didn't want to waste my time going back and forth between two loose ends. I didn't want to live a life with one foot in and the other foot out. I had to take a risk and make a decision before the future started without me.

So there I stood, about to embark on what could probably deemed as the most important journey of my lifetime, as I decided that although my passion seemed important, my family came first. They never let me down as long as I've lived, so why would I?

Want to write about your journey to college? Let us know by tweeting us @candymagdotcom or submit your story. You just might get published in this space!

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About the author
Gillian Sun
Candymag.com Correspondent
A millennium-born Bisaya belle who dreams of becoming a respected radiologist. Born and raised in Cagayan de Oro, she aims to inspire girls to never underestimate what one is capable of, because greatness comes when we believe in ourselves.
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