I am terrified. I am the type of person who likes to present myself as capable and confident -- like I can do anything. I like to think of myself as pretty independent, and I rarely like to ask for help. Although most of the time I want to seem strong, the college application process has a way of making someone feel vulnerable, as if they are a small fish in a huge pond. However, in the end, we’re all small fish, going through the same daunting process together. Deep. I know. As I, myself, am currently going through the college process, there is one thing I wish I would have done earlier. I wish I would have talked to my parents and been brave enough to tell them my dreams, fears, and aspirations.
Too Little, Not Too Late
I have just recently started opening up to my parents about this whole college extravaganza. I used to be extremely frightened to talk them about anything, but mostly about college. After my small revelation, little by little, I began sharing the colleges I’m interested in and my hopes and aspirations for college and my future. Actually talking to them about this not only made me feel closer to them, but it also made me more confident. I actually had people, more specifically people who love me, that will support me through this process and whatever choices I make.
My parents and I are probably the epitome of fire and ice, salt and pepper, and it has always been so difficult to tell them how I feel. Some of you may be thinking, is it too late to talk to them? In the words of Mary Ann Evans, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Just like anything in our daily lives, we either regret the choices we make or pine over the things we did not end up doing. We only have this life once, so make it count and have your parents involved in your life as much as you can.
When Two Worlds Collide
For those of you who have parents that are just not able to crack a smile or shed a tear every once in awhile, then this may be a tad trickier. I have cousins and friends who deal with the strict and partially authoritative parents who believe that their word is the final and only word. With parents like these, seeing eye to eye may not be an option, but the best you can do is at least show them and make them aware of your interests and goals.
Step 1: Peace
When approaching these situations do not start an argument or continue an argument that your parents may have started. Show your parents that you’re mature and serious about this college process and your plans for your future. Even though they are your parents, initially handle it like a business venture. Stay calm and collected. Most of all, share and actually communicate with them. Don’t try to convince them about a specific school or major just yet, that will come later. Establish a clean and moderate slate the shows them you are passionate but want their blessing.
Step 2: Love
I said to not convince them about your dreams and goals because your parents should not be convinced, they should be supportive. This is basically where you should give your parents time and let the fact that your goals and dreams are different from theirs settle in their brains.
Continuously talk to them about your college process, but share other things in your life as well. This year is the last year you’ll be their little girl or boy, and if anything, they are as terrified as you of a change. With time comes love, and if they really do love you (which, of course they do, they are your parents!) then they will always eventually come around and be open to what you want.
Step 3: Understanding
Now whether your parents will fully support you or not, is different with every family and scenario. In the end, though, they will understand where you are coming from and what you want for your life. They may make a complete 360-degree turn and end up loving every detail of your college and future plans, or they might offer you an ultimatum or other alternatives that will fit both of your ideas. Either way, you did it!!! You talked to them and they know and understand what you want and what you are going through, rather than just being left alone in the dark. Not so scary communicating, isn’t it?
At the end of the day, your parents are your support system and they love you no matter what.When in doubt, communication will ultimately bind you guys together and help them understand that this college process is the last thing that you want to be going through. They will understand when to leave you alone when you are stressed and need space, they will understand when you need a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand, and they will understand when you need a friend and not a parent.