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Parents think I’m a failure and would rather me work than get a degree. watch

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    I’m in 2nd year of uni doing a degree in English and Scottish Literature. I moved out about 10 months ago and had to pack in my job in a supermarket because despite being on an 8hr contract, I was scheduled for between 16-25 hours per week as well as driving for 1.5hours. I almost failed uni as a result. I started tutoring instead, and whilst I’m not making big bucks I’m getting by and managing rent and bills with about £150 each month leftover for groceries and luxuries. Mainly because of my student loan. My problem is, my parents don’t believe tutoring to be a suitable job. Whenever I’m with them they only talk about work and getting a job, and despite me telling them I can’t work for more than 12hrs per week as I could drop a grade, they have applied for jobs for me of 20hours a week and upwards. They even wanted me to do a Modern Apprenticeship whilst doing my degree!!! I’ve tried to speak to them but they won’t take no for an answer. As a result of this I’m due to start working full time for 6 months starting next month in an office at my dad’s place of work. I don’t know how I’m going to study for my exams (April and May), as I’m already struggling with uni (I had to resist a year). It’s clear to me that they only respect me when I’m working and it has even been mentioned for me to quit uni and work full time. They don’t seem to take any pride in the fact I’m doing a degree that I enjoy and frequently say things “she doesn’t even want a job” and that I’m a lazy [email protected]&rd and I feel miserable. Neither of them have been to uni, both left school at 16 and started working. I don’t know if it’s a class thing but I’m really struggling to find any common ground with them. To make matters worse I’m currently in therapy right now for anxiety and panic attacks and I’m not even sure my therapist thinks I’m ready for this but it’s too late now. It’s also going to have an effect on my relationship as my partner works Wed & Fri evenings and Sunday at 8am, so we wouldn’t be able to have much time together through the week and she’s angry at me. I feel like I’m not in control at all and am stuck between making my parents happy and making my girlfriend happy. I also feel terribly guilty and ungrateful for being so worried about this job but university is my priority. I don’t know what to do.
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    Your happiness and your health is the priority here, not anyone else's. You need to do what's best for you and clearly that's the tutoring job which leaves you more time for studying. Your parents need to realise that you don't want to do exactly what they did and you shouldn't be obliged to either, just because working from the age of 16 (which you can't even do these days) fit in with their lifestyle doesn't mean it's going to work for you. You're an adult and as long as you're happy and financially stable, it's none of their business.

    Just do not agree to allow them to dictate your life. If you don't want to work stupid hours above your Uni coirse then refuse to change your job.
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    You know what you want to do right now and that is study at university (doing a subject that you like). You also realize that what will currently make your parents happy (dropping out of uni to pursue immediate work and apprenticeship), will not make you happy. So you need to figure out a solution to your parent situation- lets examine some points of interest here:

    "I’m in 2nd year of uni doing a degree in English and Scottish Literature"
    "They don’t seem to take any pride in the fact I’m doing a degree that I enjoy"
    "I don’t know if it’s a class thing"
    "my parents don’t believe tutoring to be a suitable job"
    "frequently say things “she doesn’t even want a job” and that I’m a lazy [email protected]&rd and I feel miserable"
    "They even wanted me to do a Modern Apprenticeship whilst doing my degree"
    "I’m due to start working full time for 6 months starting next month in an office at my dad’s place of work"

    Studying for a degree (especially completing/passing one) does deserve kudos. However, grades also do not always guarantee jobs (especially worthy jobs whose salaries & room for opportunity etc justify the great expense, time and effort made to earn the qualification etc). And from the sounds of it, your parents mindset seems to basically be one of "University degree's are very long-term investments which incur great debt (and have debatable success rates of improving employment prospects), and thus are risky investments. However doing apprenticeships reap much better employment prospect dividends, incur less debt and take less time to do. Having a decently paying and secure job is what matters the most in life (and so thus you should pursue the fastest route most likely to result in more employment & less debt etc).".

    So by trying to pressure you into work and apprenticeship, they're not doing it because they hate you etc, but because they've become adament that they know whats best for you and that you're making a big mistake (and so they will do whatever they can to steer you in what they see as being a much better direction). And in all likelihood, (to be fair) over their many years of work and life experience, they have probably witnessed numerous people who either had fool qualifications or did qualifications foolishly and got kicked to wayside in life (suffering great stress and difficulties due to their poor choices in education etc).

    This doesn't make your parents correct. There are a lot of sound arguments as to why university degrees can be extremely worth it (and not everything in life boils down to achieving great financial success either!). However you need to at least understand where your parents are coming from because:

    1. They're not entirely wrong (and they have life experience which would be unwise to quickly dismiss).
    2. If you're to find a solution, then you are going to need to accommodate/understand your parents idea's to some extent.

    As this seems to boil down to an employment issue, I would imagine that your parents would be significantly more accommodating/supportive of you studying for a degree if you were able to convince them of:

    1. Potential career prospects of achieving a degree in your respective fields.
    2. Your career ambitions (not just immediate, but longer term too) plus any back-up plans.
    3. Your competence in achieving not only the qualification, but the job/s you intend to do after it.

    Stop emphasizing the Degree factor; your parents will never much care for the qualification title unless you can convince them that it's worth it in terms of securing a decent job, because currently they aren't convinced (and that's why they are so unsupportive of your efforts in this area of study).

    If you lack any of the 3 above points (failing to convince your parents that your degree has decent career prospects, failing to convince them that you have ambition, that you are competent, realistic and have aptitude etc), then that will only strengthen their mindset that they are right to not take this degree of yours seriously and that they are right to push you away from it etc. So you need to not only ask them things like why they don't think tutoring is a good job, but also think in advance of what you can do to persuade them otherwise (etc).

    So have a good think about bringing about a civilized discussion between just you and your parents about this issue at hand and how you are going to listen to and address their concerns. Keep the conversation relevant and mature, and be careful of what wording you use (don't allow yourself to become emotional or use lots of accusatory wording etc). Because only by talking this situation through together, do you all stand a chance of arriving at a much better understanding, agreeable compromise and chance of positive change (and if you're really not an airhead, then you can totally do this!).
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Updated: February 26, 2018
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