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Dear Nedlam,

I have been experiencing pressure from my family to become a certain thing, go to a certain college, and do what they think is best for me. But I want to accomplish something different. What should I do? How should I tell them that their dream isn’t mine?

- Under Pressure


Dear Under Pressure, 

It is hard knowing what to say to the people who have raised you, and helped make you who you are, that you want to be the one to determine your own future. But everyone has to do it at some point in their life. Everyone’s families have expectations of them, some more specific and demanding than others, but it is up to us to decide what we want to do and who we want to be, it is part of becoming an adult. I think the first step to telling your family that you have different goals than they do is to figure out what those goals are. If you already know what you want to do with your life, outline a plan for how you are going to get there. Your family will be more inclined to accept your decisions if they realize that this is something you care enough about  and are willing to put real work into. Make sure to include important factors like money, a living arrangement, ways you will stay in contact with your family if you are going far away, and even transportation. Once you have put together all the details, gather your family together and explain, in detail, everything you want to do and how you are going to go about doing it. Make sure to be adamant about your passion for whatever it is you want to do and the practicality of doing it in terms of future income (even if it’s just having a placeholder job for income while continuing to work on what you really want to be doing) and stability. If your family is unwilling to accept your complete plan then sit down with them and work out a compromise that works for the both of you. In the circumstance where you family is completely unwilling to compromise, I would suggest seeing a counselor and asking for their help either convincing your family or coming up with a different plan. Hope this helps -good luck!

- Nedlam's Corner 

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