How To Defend Your Major Over the Holidays

How To Defend Your Major Over The Holidays

We all have that one uncle, cousin, parent, friend, or a literal stranger who puts in their two cents about our college decisions. Here's how to deal with it and come out on top.

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I am a journalism major, so you can imagine the input I have received. But, if you cannot imagine it for yourself, let me provide you with some extraordinary examples.

At my senior grad night, a middle aged DJ asked me what I was majoring in at college and when I responded he exclaimed, "Journalism is dead! Do you know that? Do you have a backup plan? I hope you do. You definitely should." Needless to say, I was not sure how to respond nor was I too convinced he was in the position to criticize my life choices—there is no shame in being a high school DJ as your main longterm gig, but it's not like you are at the top of the career ladder yourself, mister.

There's more. But, to make many long stories short, I've heard "how are you going to make any money?", "You just became interesting, journalism is going to reverse that and make you boring again", "Are you going to join those crooks in the media?", "Journalists are a dime a dozen, good luck!". You get the idea.

And I'm not forgetting you STEM and pre-professional majors! You get hassled too, for different reasons, but just the same. The questions about medical or law school--how you're going to pay for it, that you will be in your 30s by the time you get out of residency, or how hard it is to pass the bar exam, the competition, fulfillment, etcetera.

Here are some of the plans I have devised in the case my major is attacked again over winter break. I have thought up some easy and low-conflict approaches as well as some bolder rebuttal strategies. I invite you to adopt some of these in preparation for fending off crazy and negative family during the holidays.

1. Hit them with facts

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Be prepared. Think of this encounter as a test or challenge. Look up statistics about career trends so you are ready to throw out facts at any moment. Plus, it is probably important that you know these anyhow!

2. Explain your passion

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There is a reason you chose your major (hopefully), if your family member or unsolicited critic has any respect for others, they will acknowledge and accept your drive and goals in your field of choice.

3. Drop some names

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Pull up some successful people who followed the career path you have in mind. Prove that there are success stories and you believe you can be one of them!

4. Call them out

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If the input is unnecessarily harsh, just point out that the person is creating a negative situation for no reason. Ask them why they can't contribute something positive. Ask why they feel the need to dim your light. You are the future of the world and your career, they should be encouraging you, not crushing you for their own entertainment.

5. Turn it back on them

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By reflecting on my experience with the DJ and others I've wondered if I should turn the question back on them and ask, "Has your career been perfect?" or "Did you make the right choice?". Obviously, you are taking a risk with this one. But if you use the right tone, asking a question of that nature may actually be productive by forcing the person to self-reflect and consequentially step off his or her high horse. Sometimes when people discourage your aspirations, they are projecting their own feelings of discontent, failure, or view of society which is unfair to place on your shoulders.

6. Exit the room

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Removing yourself from the situation is never a bad idea if you either don't have the mental energy to handle that conversation or if it will not lead to any resolution or positivity.

7. Their opinions do not determine your success, so keep doing you

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Ultimately, everyone has an opinion and most of them are worthless. None of those family members, friends, or guests at your holiday event have a crystal ball to predict your future and they won't even be the people interviewing you or opening the door to your future job someday. Their negativity doesn't have anything to do with you and it shouldn't affect you either. I guarantee that their comments will annoy you and get on your nerves but nip it in the bud or move on without even blinking an eye. What has helped me the most is finding the comedy in those situations—I may sound come across as bitter toward the DJ situation because of how many times I've mentioned it, but I actually find it really comical and a great story to tell. Don't let people put a damper on your dreams, ambitions, and action plans.

I'm not saying that constructive criticism and real wisdom should be ignored. People shouldn't tell you that your career path is going to be perfect and all sugary sweet either. Because it won't be. Every career is unnecessarily glamorized and has its downsides.

But you should be able to differentiate the people who have actually invested time, energy, and interest into your success and care about advising you. An aunt, uncle, grandparent, booger-filled cousin, distant friend, or friend of a friend that you see once a year during the holidays probably doesn't have productive or mind-blowing insight into your goals and even less, your intended career. Unless, of course, they are a respected profession in that field of work.

You can spot which criticism is productive, balanced, and backed with facts versus degrading, patronizing, opinion-based commentary. Listen to one, diffuse the other.

Good luck this holiday season and stand your ground!

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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