My Main Life Problem

TL:DR: College student struggling on what to do with life, but does not want to upset family.

To start off, I want to say that I apologize for this really long post.

I had a rough childhood when I was young. I never knew what I truly wanted to be when I grew up until 7th grade when I got involved in the school musical. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I had an entire plan of going to college in New York or Philadelphia to pursue majors such as music technology, music business, and etc. The problem is I come from a family that wants their kids to be in practical and big money-making jobs.

As a result, I gave up my plans and I went to community college (which I am grateful about going to). Even though it was a nice way to introduce me to college academics, I was kinda rushed by advisors to pick a specific major so that I can transfer to pursue a bachelors.

At first in my second year of college, I majored in communications because I thought it would combine both the entertainment industry and business (which is my main alternative) together. However, I changed into business (specifically marketing) just immediately around two days at the beginning of the year because of certain classes, it made social media not fun, and I was afraid that it would not make enough money. Also, I was taking a few business classes ever since senior year at high school, so I was too used to being in business.

After taking specific business classes, they were literally some of the hardest classes I took. I usually get good grades, but some of these I had to take twice and/or barely pass with a C. What made it worse was that in January 2020, that was the first time I actually thought of wanting to die (but I am not suicidal anymore, so please don’t worry about that). As a result, I ended up getting my associate’s degree a semester late.

I am about to be in my senior year this fall and I am currently doing well grade-wise and even have a scholarship. However, at this point, I have been so unmotivated with academics. It’s like post-secondary education was never something I should have done in the first place. My unmotivation and depression is so bad that classes that do involve the arts do not even make me happy.

The coronavirus just proved my negativity towards college more since I had 1-2 years of college without the fun. But yet, returning to school on campus is just a horrible thought now. I might have around 1.5 to 2.5 years to finish, but it felt so long getting the associate’s already, this can feel long too. I also might not even be fully happy during graduation because I will feel salty about putting myself in this situation.

I’ve never been the best person when it comes to making big, adult decisions (mostly because I come from a Asian-American immigrant family and other personal reasons), but I really need help. It’s like I know the best solution in my opinion is to drop out and work a full time job, but I cannot go for it because it would disappoint my family. Most of the men in my family are college dropouts, including my father who died last year; and most of the women in my family, including my mother, never went to college. That being said, I do not want to break my parents’ wishes, but I don’t want to keep giving up my happiness and self either. What should I do?

You need to identify the problem beyond being unhappy.

A clear issue is that you see a college degree in business as your family’s goal and not as your goal.

Another issue is depression / lack of motivation.

Read a self-help psychology book and/or seek the assistance of a professional counselor.

The entertainment industry needs those with a degree in business.

After earning an undergraduate degree in business or in any other area, you can apply to MFA programs if that remains your passion in life.

P.S. Consider getting involved with a local theatre group.

Do you have any close friends ? I think that you need a friend or two with whom you can talk & share concerns about life.

Lots of young adults get confused & afraid of the real world. Lots of young adults seek counseling. If unaffordable, try self-help psychology books.

Life gets much better. Individuals find their groove & bloom at different times in their lives; your time is just ahead.

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I suggest that you’d stay focused on finishing up your bachelor degree, which will enable you to become gainfully employed. It might seem to you that you will be giving up your happiness by obtaining your degree; however, the reality of being able to pay your bills will allow you, the luxury of taking some time and some options to explore the entertainment industry. Finishing up your degree is not your gift to your parents, rather you will be setting yourself free to pursue your dream, albeit at a later time and at a part-time capacity.

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Your about to be in your senior year, so you should only have a little over a year left.

If you dropped out and got a job, what would that look like? What would your job be? What would you do long term?

If you stay in school you’ll have a degree and the opportunities it opens up to at least rely on or fall back on if you choose to pursue a different route.

I would suggest looking for some fun “entertainment opportunities” to bolster your mood. Get involved in something you can enjoy a few nights a week or on the weekend. There must be some organization or club that can give you an outlet for your interests.

In the end the decision is yours. It’s your life. You’re also responsible for the outcome though. You’re close to getting your degree. You can get the degree and still pursue your passion in the end. Then you’ll have multiple options open for you to truly decide where you want to go in life. There’s no reason you can’t combine those paths too. You can make it happen.

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You are so close to finishing your degree, that you should really try to push through. A BA is a minimum requirement for many types of employment in life. Meanwhile, you should also try to do some of what you enjoy, to give you pleasure in life. Can you take a theater class? Get involved in a college theater production? Something that makes you happy, that will help you to get through this last year of college. After that, you can decide on your future. But don’t drop out - get that degree.

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