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Background

I am a 24 year old living with my parents. I'll soon be 25. I study at a local university/college. Lately (the past few years) it has not been going well. I am considering dropping out, maybe two semesters away from graduation. But maybe two years. I don't know.

I have my reasons for dropping out:

  • I have a job already. They don't care wheter I have a degree or not. In fact, they wouldn't have to spend any extra time/money on me doing assignments at work, so it's a win for them.
  • I wouldn't have to do my graduation internship, which means I can get a permanent contract, instead of this temporary one and buy or rent a house and finally move out.
  • I would be able to recover from this feeling of depression easier.

My own reasons for not dropping out:

  • Not having a degree can potentially limit my career, but frankly, I just want to leave this horrible situation. I'll sort my career out later. I can always start an online degree later, anyway.
  • I'll have to pay back my student loans to the government that would be a gift if I finished. This amount is about half a year salary.

The problem

It seems easy, 'just tell them your reasons'. If it was that easy, I would do it. My parents do not understand how much effort it is to continue studying at the moment. They do not see how it makes me sick in my stomach. All they see is the first woman in our family who got to go to university throwing it all away. They have allowed me to live with them all through uni. In fact, they're allowing my boyfriend to stay with us too. I understand they would not be happy. I think they would even be a bit disappointed at first.

The solution I am looking for

I would like to convince my parents that dropping out is the best possible course for now. I would like for them to understand and accept my reasoning. I have enough reasons, but I don't think they will listen if I say something among the lines of

Hey, mom, dad, just letting you know, I'm dropping out

How can I make them listen to my reasoning, without them immediately getting angry/getting frustrated/some other thing that disrupts the conversation as soon as they hear I want to drop out?

I think some conversation guideline, either leading up to my arguments or using my arguments, would help a lot.

Clarifications:

  • They are aware of my troubles in college, but not of the extend.
  • They (mainly my mom) believes depression exists, but only happens to 'other people'.
  • I have scheduled an appointment to get help with feeling depressed. Perhaps a doctor can help my mother understand to what extend this affects me.
  • I think they will understand eventually. There will a few phases they go through, understandably. Not understanding > frustration > disappointment > understanding > accepting, is what I think. My goal is for them to move through negative phases as fast as possible.
  • @Raditz_35 I haven’t shared much of my thought process with them, but I have been talking with friends. I know my parents will be disappointed if I drop out. They will want me to finish it, because they think that is best for me. – Belle Mar 22 '18 at 14:06
  • As you said they just want that because they think that's the best for you if you show them how all the situation makes you feel maybe they will start seeing that maybe that's not the best for you and actually understand the reasons to drop out. Being sincere with your emotions and how do you feel will help them empathize and be more supportive towards you , after all all they want is the best for you. – Alexander Aeons Torn Mar 29 '18 at 8:07
  • Your two reason for not dropping out sounds very valid to me. Are you sure you can't tough it out and finish the course? – Mawg Jun 13 '18 at 12:44
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I have been in your position, albeit in a lesser form. I went to a 'Hogeschool' as well for IT and my course was changed as well. Due to ECTS being reassigned to courses per year, I was forced to take a year longer, and that was pretty hard to explain to my parents. My first reaction was to tell you to keep going, but I have read your other post and it seems you are really suffering under this.

I suggest having a talk with your parents. A real talk, one where you get them around the table, your siblings away and no other forms of nuisance (tv, radio, whatever, ...)

I was also the first of my family to attend higher studies, and an important thing to remember is that even though your parents are very proud of you and want to support you with this, is that they have no clue whatsoever how tough it can be. To them, it might seem as 'just' going to school. Especially if they are hard working class people. My parents were like that and they had a very hard time trying to feel with me during exam periods because to them it is simply a matter of 'Sit down and study, easy right?'

Explain to them first that your first year went very well but that everything is going very bad since the reformation of the course. That the course has changed structurally to something that just does not work and that other students are suffering due to this as well. Explain to them as well all the things you and your peers have done and tried (meeting with the school et cetera) and the things you considered but won't (sueing and what not).

Then explain to them how all of this makes you feel. It might be hard to open up like this to them, especially if they have that stance on depression. Mine have that stance too, but once they realise it is real they will get more understanding. Just tell them very honestly how all of this makes you feel and to what extent it has an ill effect on you, your health and your mental health.

I am going to assume your parents are like mine, and that they know very little about technology and the field. My parents know I work in IT but no matter how I tried, they have no clue of what I actually do aside of that it has something to do with computers. Explain to them that a degree is not everything, especially so in the IT field. You will meet lots and lots of people in your professional life later on that are self-taught or never attended official education related to the field. Having a degree in IT is a bonus and will put your career in second gear, but it is not needed. What is needed is skills, a mindset and a certain way of treating issues and logical thinking. You have this, and you have a job lined up. That is just as good, if not better, of a start to your IT career as a bachelor degree. (I assume Bachelor since you attend Hogeschool, that is how it works in Belgium where I live)

They might think that not getting your degree will set you back, as many people these days believe (which is true to an extent) that having a degree is necessary. Explain to them why the tech, especially the IT, field is different to this regard.

Then tell them that you have decided that you will stop attending college and that you will focus on your professional career instead. Don't ask to do that, tell them you will be doing that, that your mind is made up, and that you hope they can accept your choice and are willing to help you and support you with it.

Some additional, personal advice. Don't worry about your age and your juniority. I graduated 2 years 'late' from my bachelor and nobody has cared ever since. (I did one year extra in college and one in high school).

I work in consultancy now so I go to a lot of interviews since I go from client to client. I am guided in this by my boss, and I can say that in most interviews and environments neither management nor my peers cared for my degree. The only times they asked for it is to see if we went to the same college by any chance and to talk about ex-teachers and such.

The thing they do care about is skills, experience and mindset. And I believe you have those things covered. This might be harder to explain to your parents as I feel it is something that is not true for every field. But I have noticed that in IT you can divide people up roughly in three categories.

Highly motivated people that live for IT

Motivated people that like IT and working in the field

People who have no bussines doing IT but ended up here somehow because the demand far exceeds the supply.

The good part about his is that as long as you have the drive, the motivation and the right mindset, you are set. Especially in our region (Benelux), but also everywhere in the world. My parents never really understood or believed this until I actually went job hunting and had several offers on the table within a week time. If you know how to explain this aspect to them, I am sure they will soften up more as well.

I believe most of their reluctance has to do with wanting the best for you and worrying you are making a bad choice. They feel more responsible for your choice as well as they feel uncertain how to assist you with this, as for them too, this is all new area. My dad told me this, after I graduated, that he was glad I managed to wiggle my way through, as neither he or my mom had any clue on how to help me. This might play a big role in them urging you on to keep trying, as your failure will feel as they failed to help you with this.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Catija Mar 24 '18 at 15:40
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I think the best way for them to understand that you really need to drop for you own good and happiness is see it for themselves. If you have a long talk it may feel like you're just trying to avoid responsibility/laziness due to recent bad grades or whatever. I think they must really feel what you're going through, I think having some conversations of your emotional state without bringing the college topic might help a lot first to make them aware of how do you feel, and when they do you might bring it on and they will be able to understand better, be more comprehensive and emphatic.

If they see that your happiness is on the line I have no doubt that they will support your decisions in the end. Loving parents always do, but sometimes we're too scared of what their reaction might be.

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