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Telling my parents I graduated

I return from the abyss (for a short while) to ask a simple but ridiculously hard question, how do I tell my parents that I graduated uni this semester with a different degree? 


Semester 2 starts in a week and I am very, extremely afraid of actually telling my parents I have left uni because I don't want to be a teacher (what I was studying) anymore.


I am so, completely lost with my future but that is a separate thing, so we'll ignore that for just... How? How do I tell my parents that I graduated uni? How? When they're expecting me to finish and get a job next year? I don't want this anymore, but they don't know and I have no idea how to tell them.


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

@N1ghtW1ng  Congratulations on graduating! That's still an achievement, even if it is with a different degree. Smiley Happy

That's a really tricky situation. Smiley Frustrated I tend to assume that people are going to react negatively and think that I've disappointed them. I know that we can't really read minds, but it's still a hard thing to get over. Are your parents generally supportive of you? I hope that if you do end up telling them, they will be understanding and supportive. You never know.

I was in a similar position as you last year. I told my parents that I was going to do a full time unpaid internship to get experience after I graduated from university. I was accepted into it, but when I actually started, I found that it was very exploitative. They failed to inform me about critical aspects of the position and it was completely different (and less appealing) to what I had originally been told. The employers harrassed and lied to me at every opportunity and turned on me when I tried to bring up these issues and reach a compromise. I was filled with a sense of dread going there. Entire days were spent trying to sort out the issues that they created for me rather than actually learning or doing anything productive. Eventually, I just quietly left without telling anyone (no one seemed to notice or care) and spent that whole night being physically sick. I knew that there was no way I could do it and the other interns were also struggling with it. Lying in bed, I couldn't help but think how much better my life would be if I quit. I was so sick and sleep deprived from the hours that I was working and being made to respond to emails even at midnight that I couldn't bring myself to show up the next day. Instead, I sent an email telling them that the position wasn't for me.

My mum and a few other family members were supportive, but my dad was really disappointed even though he was aware of the issues I was having with them. He thinks that I wasted a year of my life, even though I was technically only with them for a few months and found another internship soon after. Personally, I don't think it was a waste because it helped me think about what I really wanted. You could point this out to your parents if they find out. If the stress of being a teacher was affecting your mental health or giving you burnout, you could also tell them this. If they are disappointed in you, that's their problem to deal with.

You know yourself better than anyone. If you decide that something isn't for you, it's okay to quit. It's not a crime to change your mind. There could be people telling you what you should or should not have done, but they are not the ones walking in your shoes. They are not you. If your instincts were telling you that being a teacher wasn't right for you, they were probably correct. Our instincts evolved to keep us safe and guide us towards what is best for us.

I felt really alone and like no one understood what I was going through at the time. But wanting to quit something without something else lined up is an issue that affects thousands of people and can happen at any time in life. I turned to the internet for support and validation and found that many people had done similar things and were better for it. Perhaps your parents have too.

Things will work out for you eventually. I was able to find other things to do that suited my interests better and you will too. A weight was lifted off my shoulders after I quit and I knew that I had made the right decision. Even though my next position wasn't that good either, it was at least a tiny bit better and more relevant to my goals than the one I quit. I am much happier in the positions I am doing now.


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

Hey @N1ghtW1ng, that's definitely a toughie. I guess I would keep in mind that even if they are angry or disappointed, you have to live your life for you. But in the end, there are a lot of years of life left after our parents are gone, and if we don't live to please ourselves and fulfil our own dreams then what is the point? I think you're really brave to waste your time doing something you weren't passionate about. 

“Your now is not your forever."
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

Re: Telling my parents I graduated

Thanks @WheresMySquishy Smiley Happy It sucks that you had to go through a similar situation, but go you for quitting Smiley Happy It's always a relief when we commit and do what we want Smiley Happy


My parents do tend to be supportive, so I know that it won't be a huge disaster or anything... it's more about expectations. You're 100% right when you say only I can decide what's right for me. Something my psych said to me once is "who says you should?" (in response to me saying "I should've...") 

I suppose I just need to work up the nerve to actually tell them... The last time I told them big/unexpected(to them) news, I was halfway through an exchange in another country. If only I could go away for a month or something and tell them while I'm away so I don't need to have a conversation... I guess I could say something like, "By the way, I'm not studying next semester. I'm sick of studying and I just want to work and save up money. I've made my decision and that's that." Kind of a, I'm not changing my mind, it's too late anyway, please don't bother talking about it anymore. Which would hopefully give the same effect of not having a conversation... I didn't actually think of that so thank you for sparking the brain train to get me there Smiley Happy


@MisoBear thanks Smiley Happy My life will always be mine, I may as well do what I want with it Smiley Happy I don't feel very brave, but it's a good reminder to know that it actually is brave to step away from the comfortable/routine/expected and do what I want to do for me. 


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

Hi @N1ghtW1ng that is a really tough situation, but also sounds like one that you have really thought over and come to a decision that was in your best interests. There are some great words of support here from @WheresMySquishy and @MisoBear Heart I really loved this comment from WheresMySquishy "You know yourself better than anyone. If you decide that something isn't for you, it's okay to quit...Our instincts evolved to keep us safe and guide us towards what is best for us" and I truly believe you will find your path too Heart


You have mentioned that it was helpful the last time you had big news to have that conversation with your parents more remotely. What are your thoughts about the way you will have this conversation this time? If having the conversation face to face is challenging, are there other ways you could tell your family?


The decision you made was really brave Heart 


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Re: Telling my parents I graduated

@N1ghtW1ng  I hope your parents can support you if they find out. You're right that there is nothing they can do to change your decision, so there is no point in them arguing with you. They will just have to accept it, which is their issue to cope with and not yours.

Have you told any other family members or friends about your decision? Maybe they can back you up and help you tell them.

Something that helped me was writing down the reasons I quit my internship, which I initially did because I had to explain it to people. I look at it from time to time to remind myself of my self-worth and that I did the right thing. Maybe you could write down the reasons why you decided not to be a teacher. This might also help you answer any questions that your parents might have about your decision. If you don't want to answer any questions, you could say, 'It just wasn't for me'.

You could also tell your parents that thousands of people have changed their minds about what to study or do with their future, and it has usually worked out fine for them. I have known plenty of people who have done this and they are all happier doing something that they love and have never regretted their decision to change careers. It's never too late to decide on a career change either. A lot of people studying my course were mature age students and people who'd had another career in a different field first. I believe it actually gave them an advantage in my field with finding jobs and getting into postgraduate courses because they already had some transferable skills, life experience and references. If you decide to study something else, you might even get credit points towards it in some circumstances.

I think it is often better to quit rather than spending too much time in a bad company or a course you don't like, especially if you don't like it from the beginning. One of my family members said to me, 'If it was that bad from day one, then it probably wasn't going to get any better', which was really helpful. Some people told me that because I quit, it would be harder for me to find other internships and opportunities relating to what I studied, but I found some anyway. I left the position off my resume because I didn't do a lot of practical, productive work for the company, but I wrote all of the training and courses I had done with them. You could do something similar because teaching can give you a lot of skills that can translate to a lot of other industries and jobs, such as organisation, flexibility, planning, communication, responsibility, working with children, etc.

Like @Jess1-RO said, I believe you will find your own path and things will work out for you in the end. Whether you have a job or are in a course or not, you are awesome, smart, talented and a kind and caring person. Smiley Happy


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

I'm sorry I'm not able to respond to your messages @WheresMySquishy  @Jess1-RO, my head is not in a reading-processing state. 


I'm posting now to update that I finally told them and it was just as horrible as I imagined it would be but it is over and done now. 


(They're disappointed but it's done so what can they do? Nothing)

Re: Telling my parents I graduated

@N1ghtW1ng  I think it's so brave of you to tell them! I think it's really amazing that you still graduated with a degree. Just remember that. Lots of people aren't able to make that kind of commitment. I spoke to someone today and they told me that they had been to uni four times but never graduated or completed any kind of course. I'm not saying that it's bad not to have a degree, but I think you should try to remember the hard work and effort you put into studying, even if much of what you were learning wasn't for you. Smiley Happy

I'm sorry that your parents are disappointed. A lot of parents only see the negatives and not the positives. But all that matters is how you feel. No one can make us feel disappointed in ourselves unless we let them. Heart


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

 @N1ghtW1ng bit late to the conversation here but I wanted to also say congratulations on graduating and for making such a big decision for yourself. It takes a lot of courage and strength to walk away from something you thought was going to be your life.


How are things after telling your parents and having had a few days to process all of this?


Hope you are well Heart


Re: Telling my parents I graduated

Thanks @WheresMySquishy and @lennycat2017 Smiley Happy
They're over the "disappointing shock" phase now, and are into the "what about this- what about that" phase. I don't plan on studying until next year though, so I have time to chill.

Thank you for listening! Smiley Happy