Dealing With Your Family's Inevitable Career Questions

Holidays are great, but if your family is like mine that means you are bombarded with questions about college and your future. This often sparks a sense of dread and if you’re like me it creates panic. Since the beginning of my attendance at UCSB, I have learned that these questions are unavoidable. These questions always seem to creep up on you like a cat pouncing on its prey, except in this scenario you're the prey. You could be in the midst of laughter with family and before you know it, as the laughter is dying down, your future suddenly becomes the topic of conversation. The question seems unavoidable and very daunting: “what are you planning to do with your degree after college?” Chances are you don’t know. If you do that’s great, but some of us are still figuring it out!

Image via GIPHY ​

When I told my parents that I intended to pursue an English degree, they freaked out. They began to ask me what I planned to do with an English degree and how I would be a functioning member of society. This led to a lot of self-doubt on my side, I started thinking of all the possible job careers but none of them ever matched my parent’s idea of a good-paying job. The concerns that come from my family about my major and future never fail to come up.

This was when I came up with a “post-grad plan.” This plan includes my career goal and what I will do to get there. It began as my personal road map, but soon became the plan that I set in stone for my parent’s own satisfaction. This plan included telling my family that I intend to be a teacher, followed by the steps to which I would get there, and ending with the amount of money I could potentially make. The reactions I would get were always ones of approval, particularly from my parents. Being a first-generation college student, I have to make sure I answer my family’s questions with sheer confidence. Although I am not 100% certain about this plan, I recite it to anyone who asks and everyone seems satisfied with my answer. Image via GIPHY 

As of lately, I realized that this isn’t the best way to go about it. Having doubt and being confused is what allows you to come to the realization that maybe this isn’t a major you want to pursue. Being unsure of your future is normal and you should not have to come up with a plan concerning your entire future plans to satisfy others. As cheesy as it sounds, the journey you embark on throughout college will be full of self-discovery. There is room for you to learn and grow. There is a lot of pressure on students to pick a career path and to make sure it will secure a well-paying job. Often times we get lost in these expectations and beat ourselves up if we do not meet them. The belief that we need to have our lives figured out is unrealistic, sometimes family members need to be reminded of that. Next time a family member asks what your plans are, simply reply with, “I’m doing my best to find different opportunities that’ll work for me and my career.”