Thursday, July 2, 2015

Helicopter parents and college students

Did you know that the parents of many college students choose their majors for them? And even plan their course schedules? On the one hand, I can sympathize -- college is insanely overpriced and there must be a strong desire to protect one's investment. But on the other hand, turning college into a four-year extension of high school seems to defeat the purpose.


Globe and Mail

"When I went to university I called home once a week, on Sunday night, on a pay phone at the end of the hall that I shared with 29 other girls. We talked for about three minutes. They knew nothing about my life, and that was fine with me. Today, parents (especially moms) text their kids 20 times a day. They know the smallest details of their children’s lives.
“A lot of parents can’t separate from their kids,” says my friend Barbara Moses, who’s a career counsellor. “Their identity is overly tied to their children’s success and failure. I hear mothers say, ‘We are having trouble finding a job.’ ”
One reason “we” are having trouble finding a job, according to Mr. Laurie, is that expectations are far too high. “Do what you love,” we urge our children, as if there’s a dream job out there just for them. But “do what you love” is probably the worst career advice in the world. It implants the notion that doing what you love can produce a sustainable livelihood – which isn’t always the case, alas. It also sends the message that if you don’t wind up doing what you love, then you’re a flop. That’s how you get freelance writers who are still living in a basement apartment at age 35 and wondering why things haven’t worked out the way they were supposed to.
Sometimes you have to compromise in life, but we don’t want to break this crushing news to our children. Personally, I’ve met far too many young adults who graduate from university with plans to work in development/save the world/find a career in environmental sustainability. There’s nothing wrong with these noble aspirations. What’s amazing is that no adults have ever levelled with them.
Reality will bite soon enough, of course. The idea that your job should be your passion is a misguided romantic notion that only the upper-middle-class can afford to entertain. In fact, most people wind up in areas that nobody ever talks about. “Insurance is a very interesting field,” Mr. Laurie assured me. “But no one says ‘I want to go into insurance.’ ”"




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