There is an age-long battle between parents and their children when it comes to determining career choices. Against the child’s will, interest and capabilities, sometimes a parent will use their authority and personal interests to tow a career path for them.
In Nigeria, professional courses like medicine and engineering are always on the lips of our dear parents when it’s time to pick a university course.
So, what do you do when you want to make your own career choice?
Many parents see their children as actual children incapable of making life-changing decisions for themselves. This is mostly why they take the decision wheel in everything, especially career choices.
How do your parents see you? Have you exhibited any form of irresponsibility in the past? Do they trust you to make positive decisions or do you have a record of poor choices?
If this is you, then the first thing you have to do is rebuild trust with your parents. Show them pertinent reasons why you will be more successful in the career path you want to take.
You must have a valid set of reasons. Think of your argument as a hearing before a jury. Create a five to ten-year action plan from your school days into an actual job in your preferred career away from the hospital. Cite responsible and successful members of society who inspired your career decision. You have to show them that your decision is not informed by peer pressure or short-lived excitement.
Understand that in medicine, you cannot just “wing it” and that being a doctor is not for the fainthearted. It requires, on top of many other things, years and years of commitment and study. By the time you’re truly in your career, you might have dedicated at least seven years to the profession, and there’s little room to start another entirely different career if medicine was never in your plans.
There are a lot of exceptional doctors, but one should only become a doctor if they have the desire to do so. You must let your parents understand how your career path will change your life for the better or worse. A great tip? Use their careers as an example if they are successful professionals that made their own career choice.
If after your presentation, your parents still put a strong foot down, then you could alternatively pick a course that gives you the option to switch to another after your freshman year, so you can evaluate your performance at the end of that year. This takes a lot of courage to do, but we encourage you to chase your career dreams and make the best career choice.
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