Thanks, But No Thanks: Handling Post-Grad Pressure from Family

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Graduating from college is an exciting time. The late nights spent studying and the years of taking classes you truly despised were all for this one moment. But you are not the only one who is joyous in your success. Your family has been there for you the entire way; providing a home for the holidays, helping fund your education, and giving you tips to get the most out of your classes.

They’ve helped you come a long way, and it is easy for them to try to point you in certain directions. Your family believes in you and can see your fullest potential, but they want to make sure you keep up that momentum you had during college to find a job, go to graduate school or even travel the world.

But, maybe your future goals are completely different than those of your family. Maybe you want to work, but they want you to go to graduate school. Maybe your mom is telling you one thing you should do while your dad is telling you another. Regardless of  the suggestions they are making, the reality is that the transition from college life into adulthood is difficult enough without the added pressure of  your family’s ideas and expectations. Here are some ways to deal with persistent family members who want you to meet their expectations after graduation.

Listen to Their Suggestions (and Your Heart)

Your family – especially your elders – are giving you advice because they’ve been there before: they know how difficult it is to find a job, how shocking it is going from college to the working world, and which opportunities are better for you in the long run. So, listen to what they have to say. It may seem unnecessary at this very moment in your life, but it may include something you need to know later on. The hardest part about listening to your family’s advice is deciding which pieces you will actually follow. Yes, graduate school is a great option right now in this economy, but is more school – and more debt – what you really want? A job at that huge company may pay a lot, but is it worth it if it’s not even in your field of study? Ask yourself what it is that you want and listen to your heart just as much as you listen to suggestions.

This is YOUR Life

Like I said earlier, you probably would not be where you are today without your family’s help along the long road of higher education. You should thank them for their support, but remind them that this is your life, not theirs. At the end of the day, you need to do what makes you happy, or else, what is the point of living? Giving your well-thought out opinion to someone is often easier said than done. You are the one who has to do the work to get where you want to be. Do what you feel is right.

Make a Plan

After listening to everyone’s ideas about your future plans, you have to take some time out to make a plan for yourself. Even if you have to physically write out the pros and cons of each possible opportunity, it is best for you to formulate some sort of plan for yourself so that you can get a better idea of what you want to do next. Once you make a plan for what you want to do, it will be much easier to endure all the questions about your future and give your family an idea of what you really want to do. Your family may even suggest some tips to help you reach your personal goal once you have established what it is.

Remember, your family just wants to help you along your way – just like they helped you through college. But one thing they – and you – have to remember is that the real world is a different story. There are huge repercussions for the mistakes you make now, and the decisions you make today can determine the rest of your future. Is that reason enough to make your own decisions, but listen to advice from those who know and understand the world well?

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