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I’m only going to college just because...?

StrawberryDropsStrawberryDrops 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
My mom always pushed me to to ensure that I get into a college, so I could get a good degree. I understand that she wants the best for me, and that is all she wants. But to be quite frank, I’m not sure of what I am doing in college. I honestly don’t quite know what I want to major in. I did ask if I could take a gap year or something before college, so I could figure out what I want to do. My mother didn’t want that, and wouldn’t let me. She said if I don’t finish college, she won’t support me. I understand that I’m very fortunate enough to even be accepted and to be able to attend college on student loans and such, but I honestly just don’t want to go to college right now.
Sure, I can change my major if I chose to, but my mother won’t allow that either. I can only pick one major and I must stick with it until I get my degree. I hate to say it but, I’m most likely not going to use my degree if it’s in something I absolutely hate or struggle with. I sound super selfish and I’m very aware of that, but I’m being very truthful. During my whole life, I was a music prodigy, so I never really explored other options other than business (DECA). My mother doesn’t want me to major in music, but she’d love for me to major in something related to businesses. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind majoring in something music related- I absolutely love music, but she won’t support me if I do. A music degree may not be very helpful and the industry is extremely competitive, but I have shared that I wouldn’t mind being a music therapist (a more “realistic” job) someday.

I don’t plan on having a family or anything. I just plan to travel and live life to its fullest. I’d rather work 2-3 jobs and save money to travel, explore, and do what I love (music and art), than to be stuck to business marketing job that’ll take up the majority of my time and leave me with no time for myself and my hobbies. As much as my mom wants me to succeed, I really just want to explore and see what I like first, and eventually come back to college and major in something that I enjoy. So that way, I have a degree that I would actually use. It’s unfortunate, because I feel super pressured. She is sick, and most likely won’t be around for another decade. I live on my own and I have a couple of jobs (60+hours/week), and attend school full time. It’s been taking a big toll on my mental health, and I seriously just feel extremely unmotivated. With this feeling, it is soooo hard to push myself through school without wanting to just leave this earth. I hate to disappoint her, and I want to achieve her dreams of being her only college graduate unlike my siblings (who have been in and out of prison for gang affiliation and drug dealing, etc.. that hood stuff). I don’t come from a good place, but I am finally out of a toxic environment, and my mom is the only family member who I really care about. I’m not sure of what to do. Should I just get a degree just because?
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Replies to: I’m only going to college just because...?

  • bopperbopper 14080 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    1) Your mom is sick. So she is trying to do her best to set you up for the future.
    2) You should not take too much out in student loans
    3) I think once you start college, she will have less power over you choosing a major. I think she is trying to get you to do something "practical".
    4) Can you combine music and business? Like get work toward Music Management? or music teacher? or music therapist? or music marketing?
    5) Can you stay involved in music in college in ensembles?
    6) Re: using your degree...having a degree in SOMETHING is often a requirement of jobs.
    7) Are you in college? Have you applied to college? Have you been accepted to college?
    8) 60 hours + school is too much. Is it possible for you to work less?
    9) By going to school, she is trying to keep you out of the toxic environment and hanging around people who are trying to get college degrees and have careers.

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  • LindagafLindagaf 9245 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP, I’m sorry you are having a hard time, but you need to read post #1 carefully. Your mom is being practical. It’s not that you are being selfish. It’s that you are burying your head in the sand and not facing reality.

    You are young and you do have time. You also have to understand that while working three jobs and just traveling around for the rest of your life sounds idyllic, it is a fact that you need to be realistic too. Your mom isn’t going to be around forever. I am assuming that you perhaps don’t have other financial support in your life.

    Turn your hobbies into a job. A hobby isn’t going to pay bills, unless you find a way to connect it to cash flow. So you become proactive. Go to the career center at your college. Meet with an advisor. Find a path to pursue your interests, Look at all the different internship and job shadowing opportunities. Pursue any that sound interesting. Meet with academic advisers to see what options there are for classes that stimulate you and work with your major. And yes, there will be boring classes too. Oh well.

    As far as your major, I will be blunt. Any major is better than quitting college. Major in whatever, and get the degree. Frankly, in your shoes, I’d major in Economics. It’s a versatile degree, and if you do it as a BA rather than a BS, you should find it quite interesting. It’s related to business, but involves lots of thinking and history too. That might satisfy your mother.

    The days when people could just work their way up a career ladder without a degree are over. Sure there are a few exceptions, but the world we live in now means that the jobs your parents had when they were young are not going to provide you with any long term means of providing for yourself.

    You need to stop working so much. Are any of those jobs providing any long term career opportunities? I don’t know how you have any time to do schoolwork or socialize. Prioritize your education. I got a degree I never thought I’d do anything with, and it took me six years to get it. Now, as a middle aged woman, my job wouldn’t be possible without my degree. If I didn’t have my degree, I’d be cleaning houses, or babysitting, or doing something I’d personally find very boring. There is nothing wrong with those jobs, but tell me if you’ll be happy scrubbing toilets when you’re 55.

    Take your head out of the sand so you can achieve both the dreams and the reality.
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  • UndercrackersUndercrackers 869 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    "I don’t plan on having a family or anything. I just plan to travel and live life to its fullest."

    Your definition of living a full life is very narrow and typical of a young person, especially one who has had a challenging upbringing and is currently burning the candle at both ends. However, do not be surprised if you are a very different person 5 or 10 years from now. Just because you don't dream of weddings and children does not mean that is not in your future. Same with wanting a house or other large purchase in the future. A college degree keeps your options open. If you choose not to leverage a degree into a career, at least you have the choice. Without higher education, the choice may not be available to you at all. Your mom sees it as the one thing that will give you a chance to lift yourself up from the paths of those around you. I know it feels like a lot of pressure to have that all on your shoulders, believe me. I was the first one to get a college degree on either side of my family, plus my step-dad's side, but that was the expectation because I was a good student and they wanted something more for me than they had had themselves. I worked, went to school full-time, took 6 years, but I wound up in a series of better and better jobs. In the end, I did it for myself. I can't imagine what I'd be doing now if I'd never finished.

    You really do need to read @bopper 's list AND @Lindagaf next to last paragraph. Those low-level jobs sound easy and flexible now, but they should not be aspirational for someone who has the chance to do more and be more. Do this for yourself.
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  • bopperbopper 14080 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    Also keep in mind that if you worked those 60 hour /week jobs:
    1) When are you going to have time for music/art?
    2) When will you have time to travel?
    3) it might seem okay now, but what if you get sick/car needs to be fixed?
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  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU 1540 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I heard once of an interesting job that might suit your desire to travel. A friend's brother was an English language teacher in Japan. That gave him a paying job and international travel. I also have a relative who accepts long-term international assignments. He is staying in fine hotels and vacationing in Dubai around Europe. The pictures are beautiful. Both of these people have the opportunity with much less struggle than a backpacker would have because they leverage a basic education. Get your degree. You need options.
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  • suzy100suzy100 5695 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "With this feeling, it is soooo hard to push myself through school without wanting to just leave this earth."

    OP, this statement is very concerning. Are you seeing a counselor or therapist? If not, do that right away. Like today.
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  • bopperbopper 14080 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    My daughter loves to travel. She got a math degree, and a masters in teaching and taught for 4 years. Now she has accepted a teaching job in Germany at an International School. She will be traveling around Europe using Germany as a base.
    Having a degree gives you the firmest foundation to be able to do what you want to do.

    Note that a bunch of adults are agreeing with your mom...we have seen people who struggle with low wage jobs and how they can't get out of them.
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @StrawberryDrops Are you getting financial aid? Is your mother supporting you? I agree that working 60 hours a week as a full-time student is way too much. Do you have an advisor? Ask the school for some help.
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  • tucsonmomtucsonmom 452 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    What I'm about to say to you is coming from a place of respect & care.

    There's a reason for the phrase "starving artist" or "starving musician." It's hard to be able to support yourself with a degree in music unless it's doing something like being a music teacher. Being able to support yourself solely as a performing musician? That VERY VERY hard.

    You can probably do a smidge of research and find some examples of people out there who have "made it" with a music degree. But those examples are not the norm.

    Your mom knows what it's like out there in the big wide world. She has more experience in this than you do. In the US, generally speaking, it IS easier to get a full time job if you have a 4-year college degree. ANY degree is usually better than nothing.

    At the same time, not everybody is ready to go off to college and figure that out when they're 18 and just graduated from high school. For some people, it works out better in the long run if they have to tough it out on their own first...doing what you're talking about...working multiple part time jobs in order to make ends meet.

    Your life goals sound great. Living life to the fullest and traveling. But if you have to work multiple part time jobs 60 hr a week in order to support yourself, how exactly are you going to be able to put much $$ away for big travel plans?

    Besides, consider this...what happens when you're sick and you have to take several days off of work? Usually with part time work, not going to work = no income. So you need a plan for how to handle rainy day stuff like that.

    Working 60 hr/week + full time student is a recipe for disaster. If you're going to keep up that work load in terms of non-school stuff, then consider taking ONE class at a time at a community college, for example.
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