I am a sixteen years old studying in the last year of high school. I will be finishing my school in the coming summer when I will appear for my final exams. After that I plan to go to college for under graduate studies.
My father is a very successful and well renowned doctor. He has his own private practice which is doing very well. He makes a very handsome living. My two elder siblings are also doctors and work with my father in his clinic. It’s like a family business. My father wants the same for me. He wants me to enroll into a medical school to pursue a degree in medicine, become a doctor and then join him.
But this is something that I don’t want at all. I don’t want to be a doctor. I am not at all good in the science subjects. I don’t understand them and they bore me. I would be lucky to pass high school with a decent grade in the science subjects and that too after getting tutored privately in them.
On the other hand I excel in art. I am the best student in my art class. I enjoy and love attending art classes. I want to go in the creative fields. That is where my talent and my passion lie. My brain is always flooded with creative and artsy ideas. I have done a few projects for my school and all of them were well received and got me extraordinary praise. My teachers and the school counsellors understand this and have advised me to pursue a career in arts.
But my father is adamant. He won’t hear of it. He wants me to become a doctor and nothing else. I have tried convincing him but in vain. He simply doesn’t want to listen. I know I don’t have it in me to be a doctor and even if I did, I simply don’t want to be one. I won’t be happy studying and practicing medicine. I see my father and my brothers working in their clinic. They enjoy that work. I won’t. I want to do something that I am sure I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. What should I do? How should I convince my father to let me pursue arts in college and not medicine?
Dear Artsy Guy,
First of all, let me congratulate you for being sensible enough to understand that one should preferably pursue a career in a field in which not only is one good at but also enjoys it.
Secondly, you should feel lucky and thankful that your talent lies in something which you enjoy. This combination is not always true for everyone. Very few people are lucky enough to have it.
I would advise you to pursue your dreams. Nothing is better than pursuing one’s dreams and achieving them and nothing is worse than being stuck in a job/career/work that makes you miserable and brings you no inner satisfaction. It ultimately leads to stress and burnout because every time you work, you are constantly at war with yourself.
And your school teachers and counsellors agree with you that you should pursue arts, which means that others also see your talent and passion.
Your father rightly or wrongly doesn’t understand this at present. There could be many reasons for it. May be he feels that a career in the arts field is not as financially stable as medicine. Or may be he feels that it’s not as honourable and respectful as that of a doctor.
Whatever the reason, you will have to sit down with him and try to convince him. You will need to allay all his fears. You will need to make him understand that not only do you love art but you can also make it a worthwhile career. This is not going to happen on its own. You will have to convince him and come up with answers/solutions to his questions/objections.
You can do this by first arming yourself with all the details of your chosen profession. Research in detail and come up with the answers to any or all the questions/objections that your father might have. Calmly, tell him of your plans, your reasons why this is the best choice for you and your dreams. Showing your father that you do not have the all-too-common teenage bug about wanting to be an artist and have instead considered your career realistically and carefully will go a long way towards him taking your choice seriously.
Secondly, tell him that you are different from him and your brothers, that you would be miserable studying medicine. Show him the passion and excitement about your choice. No parent wants to see their child unhappy. Once he truly realises that you would be absolutely miserable and mediocre in medicine and that you might have a much brighter future in the arts, he might relent.
It might also be worthwhile to have your father meet your school teachers and counselors who can help in allaying his fears about the profession that you want to choose and convince him of your talent and passion for it. When he sees other adults supporting you in your decision, he might soften up.
All the best!