Join TSR now for chat about life, relationships, fashion and more…Sign up now
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    This is an issue that's been bothering me for a while.

    I'm not sure where to begin. I have a Chinese origin and parents, I'm 16 atm and go to a private school. Finishing GCSEs and going on to do the International Baccalaureate next year.

    I want to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge - because it sounds like the perfect course for me, not because of prestige value. However, my parents are SO keen for me to go to Cambridge. Tbh, I think that's because they're being prestige whores. I'm always being realistic and thinking about what happens if I don't make it into Cambridge. They take education quite seriously, probably because they never had the chance to have a full one, and partly because of culture; my dad stopped going to school in year 2, my mother stopped in year 8 or so, because they couldn't afford it. My parents have come an extremely far way and both regret not being able to study more. My dad first migrated to a Commonwealth country without knowing any English, and here he is now running a few businesses and sending his son to a private school.

    Now they keep pestering at me to study hard, always bringing up the success of other Chinese students' success, how they work really hard for my school fees (honestly, fair enough because they do, but I have a bursary atm though) etc. It's starting to make me really angry.

    What I want to explain to them is that:
    1. There are other AMAZING universities out there
    2. I won't be a failure if I don't make it into Cambridge
    but sometimes I think they're being blinded by the prestige value and the pride that they can have.

    I think it's quite cheap when they bring up the point about school fees, and they do it quite regularly. I'm studying hard, usually overtime. It's a point I get worried about, I kind of appreciate the financial situation but it's putting (unnecessary) stress on me. My predictions for GCSEs are straight A/A*s and they keep on telling me they want "straight A*s". I will try my best, as a personal challenge, but I keep telling them IB grades will be more important (for the unis I'm looking at anyway) and that's where I'll do better (less subjects, I can focus on the ones I like). Realistically, I don't think I can make straight A*s, but I can get quite close. I'm aiming for 45/45 at IB for a personal challenge as well.

    What should I do? Should I email the bursar to re-evaluate the value of the bursary (I shouldn't really know I have one, but I'll email her for my parents)? How can I persuade my parents other universities such as Imperial/Durham are also amazing and hold great prestige? How can I reduce the stress they put on me? I'm growing sick of being compared to other people and the mention of school fees (mainly the latter). I believe my dad said he got a mortgage out for my school fees (I think he's investing in some things, new businesses, he recently bought an old run down house and restored it for example)

    I try explaining but I don't think the message is getting through... (about the unis, I'm not sure what I can say about the school fees). They did mention though, they're happy to spend any amount of money on my education (probably only if I'm in Cambridge )

    Desired career path - researcher/lecturer, if that helps.

    Thanks in advance, will rep answers.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Anonymous)
    This is an issue that's been bothering me for a while.

    I'm not sure where to begin. I have a Chinese origin and parents, I'm 16 atm and go to a private school. Finishing GCSEs and going on to do the International Baccalaureate next year.

    I want to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge - because it sounds like the perfect course for me, not because of prestige value. However, my parents are SO keen for me to go to Cambridge. Tbh, I think that's because they're being prestige whores. I'm always being realistic and thinking about what happens if I don't make it into Cambridge. They take education quite seriously, probably because they never had the chance to have a full one, and partly because of culture; my dad stopped going to school in year 2, my mother stopped in year 8 or so, because they couldn't afford it. My parents have come an extremely far way and both regret not being able to study more. My dad first migrated to a Commonwealth country without knowing any English, and here he is now running a few businesses and sending his son to a private school.

    Now they keep pestering at me to study hard, always bringing up the success of other Chinese students' success, how they work really hard for my school fees (honestly, fair enough because they do, but I have a bursary atm though) etc. It's starting to make me really angry.

    What I want to explain to them is that:
    1. There are other AMAZING universities out there
    2. I won't be a failure if I don't make it into Cambridge
    but sometimes I think they're being blinded by the prestige value and the pride that they can have.

    I think it's quite cheap when they bring up the point about school fees, and they do it quite regularly. I'm studying hard, usually overtime. It's a point I get worried about, I kind of appreciate the financial situation but it's putting (unnecessary) stress on me. My predictions for GCSEs are straight A/A*s and they keep on telling me they want "straight A*s". I will try my best, as a personal challenge, but I keep telling them IB grades will be more important (for the unis I'm looking at anyway) and that's where I'll do better (less subjects, I can focus on the ones I like). Realistically, I don't think I can make straight A*s, but I can get quite close. I'm aiming for 45/45 at IB for a personal challenge as well.

    What should I do? Should I email the bursar to re-evaluate the value of the bursary (I shouldn't really know I have one, but I'll email her for my parents)? How can I persuade my parents other universities such as Imperial/Durham are also amazing and hold great prestige? How can I reduce the stress they put on me? I'm growing sick of being compared to other people and the mention of school fees (mainly the latter). I believe my dad said he got a mortgage out for my school fees (I think he's investing in some things, new businesses, he recently bought an old run down house and restored it for example)

    I try explaining but I don't think the message is getting through... (about the unis, I'm not sure what I can say about the school fees). They did mention though, they're happy to spend any amount of money on my education (probably only if I'm in Cambridge )

    Desired career path - researcher/lecturer, if that helps.

    Thanks in advance, will rep answers.
    Sounds like a difficult situation tbh. I went to a private school, and I also had parents using the fees as a sort of emotional blackmail.

    At the end of the day though, this is your education and your life. I also had pressure from parents to go to uni (thankfully they didn't mind which), but at the time I wasn't ready so I firmly told them I wouldn't be going. Anyway, I'm now 27, and almost finished my first year at uni! I have no regrets about not going when I was younger, as I wouldn't have put the work in, and it would have been a waste of a degree, money, and 3 years.

    What I'm trying to say here is that despite pressure from your parents, you really only have something to prove to yourself (I set myself targets for almost every aspect of my life).

    Hope this helps.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    are you saying you're going to uni starting this september, or next september 2014? Are they constantly talking about how amazing Cambridge is?
    And to be fair, just explain to them you understand why they want that, when it comes to picking your firm and insurance choice, and make them go to other uni's open days too, they might be pleasently surprised. At the end of the day, it's your choice as long as you have valid reasons, such as " I like this course better", or " I'll get further/ more in the right direction with this course". And to be fair, you can't discard that Cambridge is a good uni, it definetly is, but i'm just saying, try and see each other's point of view.
    Good luck!
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by igloo1)
    are you saying you're going to uni starting this september, or next september 2014? Are they constantly talking about how amazing Cambridge is?
    And to be fair, just explain to them you understand why they want that, when it comes to picking your firm and insurance choice, and make them go to other uni's open days too, they might be pleasently surprised. At the end of the day, it's your choice as long as you have valid reasons, such as " I like this course better", or " I'll get further/ more in the right direction with this course". And to be fair, you can't discard that Cambridge is a good uni, it definetly is, but i'm just saying, try and see each other's point of view.
    Good luck!
    I'll be applying in September 2014, thank you
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    bump
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    bump
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I'm not really good with advice, but I hope that this will make you feel better:

    I'm Chinese, in year 12, and my mum is literally fixated on Cambridge. I'm not exaggerating when I say that almost every conversation we've had for the past month has gone back to 'Cambridge'. It's stressful, annoying, and makes you doubt yourself. I guess I get most of my support from my school friends, who listen to most of my whining and complaints regarding my mum, haha. It's true that some Asian parents are often just prestige whores- "Who cares what course you study? All that matters is that you get into cambridge!" Etc etc... Until you eventually yell at them to shut up. The only thing that works for me is to literally just ignore my mum's voice. Just... Breathe... Ignore... Not hearing anything at all... And to be truthful, once you get to uni, you'll see much less of them >

    The reason I personally don't plan on applying to Cambridge is because some of my AS modules weren't up to scratch- I sort of misjudged the leap from GCSEs (which were comparatively easy, and I did well on) to AS levels and flumped a couple of exams this January. Furthermore, I just don't have the work ethic or 'ability' to realistically do well in that kind of environment. All I can say to you is the best of luck to you for your future exams/A levels, and that you do as well as you can! In the end, if you don't end up applying/getting in, your parents will be disappointed, but by no means does it mean you're a failure. I talked to one of my teachers about this issue a few days ago, and he said "Success isn't 'Oxbridge'. Success is what you do to overcome difficulties in your life. Don't live your parent's dream- live your own." Nice quote, methinks. xD

    Sorry I rambled, and that you probably didn't find most of it helpful at all. I guess the overall message is that you should just do the best that you currently can, and worry about applying to particular universities nearer to the time. Also, doing loads of research on the universities, graduate prospects, etc helps a lot too. Some people think that the advantages you gain from 'Oxbridge' is overrated- but of course that's just down to personal opinion.

    Oh, and good luck with those parents of yours. If they're anything like mine, they'll probably refuse to see things from your perspective, and have a breakdown if you don't get into Cambridge. However, it's your life- and as cliche as that sounds, it's true. If you feel like you DO want to go to universitiy there, then by all means, do all that you can to squeeze your way in!
    Good luck and stuff!
    • #2
    #2

    I'm not from an Asian family so I can't claim to understand the nuances of the cultural expectations/pressures in this situation, but I do have some personal experience which I'd like to share.

    I knew a girl from an Asian family whose parents were very strict about her education (even though she was e very bright student) and constantly put pressure on her to be the best, get the highest grades, get into the top colleges, etc. A shortly before results day, she took her own life because she could no longer cope with the stress and the threat of her parents' disapproval and disappointment.

    A young life, wasted.

    By the sound of things, you're in a better mental place than she was, but these things do happen when people are pushed too far. I think you should have a serious conversation with your parents about the pressure they are placing you under and the way it's making you feel.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: May 5, 2013
Poll
If you won £30,000, which of these would you spend it on?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.