DEAR HARRIETTE: Both of my parent are in the medical profession. All they ever wanted was for my siblings and me to go to medical school and pursue the same careers they had. I have two older brothers, both of whom are in medical school. Now that I have graduated from college, I am looking for a job. My parents are urging me to go to medical school and think that I should take courses so I can apply. I do not even have the slightest interest in becoming a doctor. I was a public relations major with a minor in marketing, and I want to pursue a career in PR.
Medical school is the last thing that I want to do, and my parents don’t understand. I keep telling them that I don’t want to go to medical school, but they aren’t listening. They say I should look at my brothers and be more like them, but I don’t want to be. I want to do my own thing. Why don’t they understand? -- Not Going to Medical School, Los Angeles
DEAR NOT GOING TO MEDICAL SCHOOL: It can be very difficult to forge your own path when your parents do not support your ideas. My father was a judge, and what he wanted most for me was to pursue the law. When I told him I wanted to be a writer, he responded, “The best type of writing is the law.” I was so mad at the time because I thought he was either not hearing me or not listening. What I now know is that your parents want you to be secure, safe and happy. Security for them often resembles whatever they did in life, especially if they were successful.
I did not pursue law, just as you are not going to pursue medicine. Thank your parents for their concern about your future, apologize for not wanting to follow the path they chose for themselves and ask for their blessing for you to discover your own path. Even if they do not support you right now, do your research and discover opportunities that will lead you to your heart’s desire. As you build your career, you can keep your parents informed so that they can see your life unfold.