Daughter wants to give up?

<p>My daughter is about to be a junior in college and recently she confessed to having a few problems. She is no longer sure of what to do and is considering "giving up and just being something practical." She's a smart girl (3.6 hs gpa/ 29 act) and definitely not one to give up on anything (sick the day of a meet? she ran anyway). So I am obviously a bit worried. </p>

<p>She entered as a biology major with everything all planned out (she's very ambitios when not 2nd-guessing herself), but soon switched to computer science/engineering and then back to biology. She ended up doing horrible in chemistry & hating her biology class, and well that ended her dreams of working in a lab doing whatever. She then realised that she didn't want to be a cs/e major either and now she is stuck. She thought about majoring in a language, but she worries that she'll fail at it or end up on the streets. She has also considered creative writing (too afraid she'll end up not liking it and being poor), architecture, art (she can't draw), accounting (says it sounds boring), and a number of other subjects.</p>

<p>She seems to be interested in everything and nothing at the same time. Another problem is that she is CONSTANTLY comparing herself to other people and she is often worrying about money for the future. (She thinks she wants a big family and at one point we didn't have much money. She's also convincd that she's going to have to take care of me when Im old.) She doesn't like to be around people (she's shy and a bit awkward) and spends much of her time reading or playing wow (or reading about wow, ask her anything and she can spew out facts like a book).</p>

<p>I don't know what to say to her (I didn't go to college). Any advise on what I should say to her or any suggestions? I don't really like to meddle with her schooling, but since she asked for help I figure it won't hurt.</p>

<p>Tell her to pursue what she thinks she will like. If she thinks majoring in a language is for her (or creative writing), but she is worried about not finding a job, have her look around on the Internet for jobs relating to certain majors. Depending on the language, there are quite a few opportunities in the government. She might also take an on-line Myers-Briggs test and go look at one of the books that talks about personality and careers. She can find one at Barnes and Noble in the job search section.</p>

<p>My older child has changed her mind several times this year. With the economy, I think that it is natural for a thinking child to kind of worry about what she will do when she finishes. I would definitely encourage her to finish because once she has her degreee, no one can take it away from her. Our society tends to emphasize choosing something to study in college that will lead to a specific job, but there are plenty of jobs for all kinds of people.</p>

<p>Encourage her. It is natural to have some doubts along the way.</p>

<p>I don't think she's all that different from many almost college juniors; they need to choose a major but can't really find anything! There are organizations that help with career counseling, administering and interpreting questionnaires and tests, discussing options, etc. I don't know of any except one really excellent local one in NY metro area but maybe someone here does.</p>

<p>Until (or instead of) that can be arranged, perhaps some books on the topic (What Color is Your Parachute comes to mind) would help. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Would she be interested in teaching? Sometimes people who are interested in a lot of things make good teachers.</p>

<p>Sounds like this is an undergraduate degree. She can always work at something for a few years and then go back to graduate school for something else once she really knows what she wants to do or to further pursue what she ends up doing. As my mother always told me -- they can't take away your education.</p>

<p>I was just thinking about this today. I was a business major in college, and had to take a computer course as part of the curriculum in my junior year. I figured ahead of time that I would HATE it, but I loved the class... found myself spending more time studying for it that I needed to because it was fun (and maybe slacking a little in my other classes...). Too late to change majors, but I took a many computer classes as I could in my remaining time at college. Not quite enough for a minor, but I mentioned that I had taken X classes in that area on my resume. Got a job that really split the two majors (business & computer science), and have made a great career out of it.</p>

<p>But the point is... looking back, I ended up making a living by focusing on the class I had the most FUN in. And it ended up being a building block for my career. I would encourage your daughter to (1) think about what part of her studies she HAS enjoyed the most, and (2) take that info to her college counseling office for advice on majors that match it. Right away, though, as she really need to pick a major as a rising junior. Although, as I proved, it does not HAVE to be your major for you to get a job in a given area.</p>

<p>Oh, I did love Creative Writing class, too, but I was practical enough to know that it would be a tough way to make a living.</p>

<p>@MD Mom: She's not sure what she likes best. In high school she was often bored and now she assumes that she will get bored with something (often before trying it). Her problem with languages isn't finding a job (she considered being a translator or something similar), she worries that she'll do poorly. She took a class last fall that made her take the Myer-Briggs test and a bunch of similar ones (it was supposed to be for people who are unsure of their major), but she complained that the tests told her what she already knew. Although if I mention a trip to the bookstore (where she could live if possible), she may consider reading up on something.</p>

<p>@amtc: There is a career center at her school, but she's worried that it will be like counseling (which she found to be not effective). Perhaps if I mention that someone else suggested it, she will reconsider.</p>

<p>@mom2collegekids: She has considered teaching, but she doesn't do well infront of people. The only one she would be comfortable with is elementary education, but she sees that as a las resort/dead end sort of thing. </p>

<p>@RochesterMom: I'm worried that if she tries that it won't go over well. She prefers to have a plan and isn't really a let's try it out and see what happens sort of person.</p>

<p>If the tests in the class told her what she already knew, that is great and the way it should be. I would go to the bookstore. My daughter loved the Myers-Briggs book and her darling aunt bought it for her. She also told all of us what we should be doing. Good luck.</p>

<p>@intparent: The pressure of needing to pick a major right now is what is bothering her. She's practical enough, but her decision-making skills are horrible. She's trying the picking whatever she enjoys the most option, but she's finding that hard since she isn't incredibly interested in much. And the classes that she has enjoyed a lot aren't very practical/useful.</p>

<p>Does her school offer a library science major?</p>

<p>xcmom2012: First, I am sorry to hear of your D's challenges. I've found it hard to help plan my oldest S's life so I basically just wanted to say to you to hang in there. </p>

<p>A few probably meaningless thoughts: Habits are hard to break. If she constantly compares herself to others she may not be able to stop easily. Worrying about money is almost unavoidable for regular folks in this dog eat dog world. I have no clue how some folks manage to avoid not doing that. </p>

<p>If she is shy/awkward around people that is a huge challenge as well. I've found that self-esteem issues, not saying she has that, but I am saying self-esteem issues are the root of many individual problems in this world. </p>

<p>From what I can tell, there is no perfect career. All jobs, as I tell my sons, have problems. That is why they call it "work" and not fun. I make a living teaching at a CommCollege, which is great job, no research requirements, no need to publish or perish, just teach, but my oldest son says he doesn't want to do that. Then he tells me he doesn't want to work any 9-5 job! Actually, its more like 8-6 but you get my point. </p>

<p>Well, son, you're screwed then!</p>

<p>Since that isn't very helpful advice I am clueless as to what to say to him. </p>

<p>I'm tempted to say "figure it out for yourself," but that is even worse than interfering so I will continue to meddle. </p>

<p>If she majors in creative writing, unless she ends up teaching, yeah, she probably will be poor. That is why most people avoid that major and oh by the way if she does teach writing or composition she'll spend the rest of her life grading lousy papers so you loss either way. </p>

<p>She could major in marketing or advertising or HR management. Not bad degrees or careers. I hope she finds her way. God bless either way.</p>

<p>For a daughter described as ambitious and not one to give up, she certainly seems to be turning away from things quickly for light reasons ("sounds boring", "afraid she'll fail", "afraid she won't like it"). She must have been very shaken by the experience of her carefully planned biology future not working out the way she expected. I think what she needs most of all right now is just assurances that she's still a smart person who can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to, and that you her parent will love and support her no matter what she wants to do. She's got to get her self confidence up so she can start planning a new future again. </p>

<p>Would you be willing to let her take a year off and live at home (while working of course) or maybe volunteering either at home or abroad (maybe she should think about becoming a WWWOFer, World Wide Worker on Organic Farms, people who travel around the world (often in Europe) and volunteer on Organic Farms in exchange for room and board while they're in the area)? It might be good for her to get a little space and take a brief leave to organize her thoughts and re-build so she can go back with some perspective.</p>

<p>Tell her to pick something that she already knows she is somewhat good at - not because her final career will be in that, but because finishing her degree now is the goal. Tell her that almost no one picks (and keeps) their career by the age of 22!</p>

<p>She can then, after undergraduate graduation, intern at a few places, take community college courses in stuff she is interested in, apply to grad school, etc. But for now - it is not about "finding her dream career" it is about finishing a BA/BS degree in ANYTHING.</p>

<p>I would also encourage her NOT to go back to square one and poke at random majors. No to creative writing especially. Go back to biology, or some other major she has at least tried out a bit. </p>

<p>The other option is for you to pay for her 5th year -- and give her this next year carte blanche to try several different majors out. But realize that it is just as likely that she will not know or get bored or scared of all her new major-tries as well. So....</p>

<p>Personally, I'd have my daughter buck up, choose her "boring" or "scary" major and forge forward.</p>

<p>Suggest that she go to her college's career center and see if they offer career/vocational assessments. If so, they could help her figure out what to major in and what kind of careers she would enjoy.</p>

<p>I wanted to echo some others in that this isn't that unusual. She spent the first couple of years exploring, which helped her decide what she DOESN'T want to do, and now she feels pressured to pick something else. She happened to already try one of the tougher majors, CS, which is a major in which a relatively high percentage of students don't do well, find themselves without the aptitude for that area, or are just not interested in it. She also tried another area where many people don't do well - chemistry. Fine, now she knows that those areas aren't for her. She needs to now focus on areas she'd be interested in even if they don't appear to be a direct path to a particular field so she can get her degree and then move forward from there.</p>

<p>NSM beat me to this suggestion: go to the Career Center at school. They can help to define what she's interested in and how that translates into actual jobs. Each college has one and they are an amazing resource.</p>

<p>One of those assessments: Briggs-Meyers test (BMTI). It's like a personality test. Then take the Strong test, which more specifically relates personality to specific jobs.</p>

<p>Don't feel that your major has to determine what your career job looks like. Except medicine or engineering, most majors don't have a succinct career path. In fact, ask any adult what they majored in and you'll discover the variety, when you compare the major to the career. A major helps to set a direction (especially just out of college), but not the end game.</p>

<p>@FutureActuary: No, but she's considered that. She was put off by not understanding the program and her grandparents insistance that she would be a wonderful librarian.</p>

<p>@ACCecil: I have no worries that she will major in creative writing. She's assured me that it will just stay a hobby since she "isn't fond of soggy cardboard boxes." Her shyness has improved since entering college, but she still prefers being around as few people as possible. She'll usually do what she has to though.</p>

<p>@SmithieandProud: Shaken could describe her. Living at home isn't really an option. She's completely there on scholarship (no loans or family help) and I don't think the aid she gets can be put on hold.</p>

<p>@annikasorrensen: She's already planning on taking an extra semester or two. Most likely paid through loans/grants. Perhaps she'll try something and like it enough to stay with it. However, since I really have no control over her education, I won't tell her to "buck up."</p>

<p>@Northstarmom: She's taken tests, but I'm working on getting her to go to the career services center.</p>

<p>@ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad: She actually didn't try CS. Her boyfriend is a CS major and she didn't really care for what he was working on. She took programming in HS and enjoyed it though.</p>

<p>Thank you to all of you who gave advice. The next time she calls (or I call her), I'll mention what you said. If anyone else has anything to say, I'll gladly accept it.</p>

<p>It does sound like your daughter is shaken by some performances in classes that didn't measure up to her self-imposed standards. You say she's a planner and started college with her college career all mapped out in biology. If she was also really planning on working in a lab setting after graduation, she might also be having trouble letting go of a dream. The fact that she failed to accomplish her plans (in her eyes) may be seriously undermining her own sense of self-worth as well. Lots of love and uncritical support on your part may help her realize that she's still smart, even if chem didn't work out so well and she knows now that she doesn't want to major in biology. Also communicate that most people do not get a job that is directly related to what they majored in. Among other things, what employers want from liberal arts graduates is an ability to think critically, come up with reasonable solutions to problems, write clearly and concisely, and work well with others.</p>

<p>In addition to having your daughter check out her college's career center, you should suggest that she talk to her adviser and/or another professor whom she's comfortable talking with. The professor might be able to help her face her worries and dilemma concerning picking a major at this point, as well as provide some academic advice about how the course work she's already completed can be applied to various majors.</p>

But for now - it is not about "finding her dream career" it is about finishing a BA/BS degree in ANYTHING.


<p>I do feel for you and your D. Our D had a similar experience in which her chosen major got difficult to the point where she didn't think she'd be able to finish the degree and she was sure that she didn't want to do research in that field anyways. Starting over in another major was not an option (we needed her out of school in 4 years--expensive school with a sibling coming up soon).</p>

<p>She was lucky in that she was able to talk to the assistant department head--like Robinsuesanders suggests.</p>

<p>He looked at her strengths and weaknesses and they were able to craft a schedule that included lots of classes in areas in which she was stronger. I'd look to graduate now and keep your options open for careers later.</p>

<p>I think it's very difficult for kids who are naturally inclined to be channeled and maybe kind of linear (which has pros and cons) to encounter their first experience of the mystery of how life really goes. I am sad that your D is so unsettled and sad about it, but I would guess that in the long run she will be better off. For some people they plow straight through HS, college, grad school, marriage, kids, career - and this kind of opportunity to take a good look at themselves and their lives hits when they no longer have a youthful ability to re-imagine and regroup.</p>

<p>My D1, who is the linear type, has finally (although not so intensely) had a few bumps that have given her the chance to be angry, sad and frustrated, and pick herself back up and keep moving. It's been good for her to have to say, "I'm confused." Until then, she thought it was just an equation of work hard=get what you want. Now she is a lot more open-minded (and a little less judgmental of others, too). I can still see some of the comparing that gets her in trouble, but I presume life will continue to throw her curves now in then that can keep that in check.</p>

<p>Best wishes to your D - I'm sure she'll regain perspective. I hope if she feels depressed and anxious enough that she will reconsider counseling.</p>