How To Tell Your Parents You're Deviating From "The Plan"

You feel your phone vibrating in your hand. Lift it up, notice that it's your mom and roll your eyes. Let out a sigh and answer the call.

"Hey, mom."

"Nice to hear from you. I thought you were off smoking somewhere." She says.

Walk out of the building your class is in and separate yourself from the crowd of too tired college students.

"It's only been an hour since we last talked. I was in class anyway."

Sit on a planter far from the building. Hope that she doesn't hear the idiotic things that some students are shouting.

"Well, that's understandable. Being a business major isn't easy."

Mouth obscenities to no one in particular. Or maybe at the universe.

How would she know, you think. She didn't even stick with the business program when she was in college.

"Yeah," you say.

Pull your phone away from your head and take a deep breath. When you put your phone back to your ear, notice that your mom hasn't said a word.

"I'm taking this journalism class and even though it's been challenging me, I really like it."

"If only the news outlets were interested in telling the truth."

"But I think that it's also the responsibility of the writer to-"

"Only thing that you are responsible for is doing well in the classes that will count towards your degree."

Don't respond to her. You are already too tired of hearing this same conversation. Getting a degree in a good field will guarantee a good job, which will lead to a good life. But she forgot to mention how it will get you stuck in a cubicle, pushing papers, answering calls, doing things you don't like, and that won't make you happy.

"I have to go, mom."

Hang up before she says goodbye.

You will text her and tell her and tell her the all must have been cut off.

Stop answering your mom's calls.

When you talk to your friends in your journalism class, feel important when you create conversation. Get excited when the professor pulls you aside and asks if you are interested in writing for the college newspaper. Say yes.

Let your business course related homework go undone. Start getting into photography. Take your own photos for your articles. Write great articles. When you talk to people about writing news, your face lights up. You fill with energy. But when they ask you what your major is, you slump it your seat. Claim that you are not cut out to be a business major. They suggest that you switch majors.

Toss this idea back and forth. Don't take it seriously. Your mom will be furious. Drop the idea for two days. Get rave reviews and interviews for your latest article, start thinking about switching majors again.

Make a list of why you should be a business major.

Make another list why you should switch to journalism.

Put them side by side and compare them. Decide that this is not helpful.

Throw the lists away.

Decide that you have nothing to lose. Switch majors at the end of the semester and register for new classes. Feel excited when you tell everyone you know you switched majors. When you see your mom text you, feel your stomach tie up in knots.

You decide to call your mom. It's time to rip off the band-aid or the duct tape or the waxing strip. Whichever is most painful. You decide the waxing strip is more painful. Shudder at that thought.

You dial her number and listen as the other line rings.

Don't pick up you think. Don't. Pick. Up.

"I was wondering when you would call me again."

Don't say anything back to her. Take a deep breath before you word vomit.

"Mom I changed my major."

Listen, then open your mouth to say something, close it and listen some more. You can only hear her breathe.

"To what?" She asks.

"To journalism. I know you said that I would never get a job but-"

"Now I never said that-"

"Yes, you did mom. You said that-"

"I said that it would be hard to get a job. Especially with such a limiting degree."

Roll your eyes at her.

"Well, what do you think then? You've been giving me shit about my major since I was in high school."

"I think it's great. And I only want what's best for you."


Hang up the phone and turn it off.

Swear to yourself that you will do everything it takes to be the best.

Sometimes we have people telling us that one thing will be better for us than another. But it's not really up to them to decide. If we do the thing that we love to do, then we are more likely to put in the work necessary to accomplish our goals.

If you have someone telling you otherwise, you should remind them that this degree is for you.

This major is something that you love.

And that they don't get a choice in it.

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