Going Against My Family’s Career Goals

by Arnav Gupta
Also Featured on KCBS
01.29.17

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil via publicdomainpictures.net

My parents want me to go into science, medicine, technology, or math. But I have other ideas.

My 18-year-old sister is studying for medical school. My 14-year-old brother already designs programs with my dad, a software engineer. My aunt is a doctor, my uncle an engineer. And me? I’m interested in public affairs.

My mom regularly asks me in the car, “Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?” I used to answer: a lawyer, a journalist, a politician. But we got into arguments so often that now I just tell her “I don’t really know yet.”

I know my parents want the best for me, and I keep their suggestions in mind. In Indian culture, careers in STEM are seen as good, high-paying jobs. The rest? Not so much. The thought of their son in a liberal arts profession is a difficult pill for them to swallow.

I want to be able to explore different opportunities until I know for sure what I really enjoy. Just like I’m willing to experiment with a side of me that’s into computer science or medicine, I wish my parents would also be willing to meet me halfway.

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