As the first born of seven, to Somali immigrant parents I knew the expectations were really high for me to succeed. The pressure of setting an example for my younger siblings and the fear of disappointing my parents weighed heavily on me. How was I supposed to tell my parents I did not want to pursue a career in Dentistry?
Many youth experience this dilemma, who are affected by expectations set by their parents. These expectations are exceedingly higher among immigrant parents. Children of immigrant parents are expected to achieve more, while striving to fulfill their parents hopes and aspirations.
This can cause more harm then good. Maclean’s recently reported on the growing concern of mental health issues university/college students face. Parental pressures and expectations often create mental health issues such as: stress, depression and anxiety.
When I realized Dentistry was not the career I wanted to pursue, I felt like I was betraying my parents. The growing anxiety and stress I experienced of not knowing my career plans, dragged in me deep spiral of depression.
Here are five pieces of advice that helped me pull through:
As much our parents want the best possible future for you, they want to see you happy. This means speak up when you feel like your future vision does not align with your parents. Be prepared to have a plan to show that you have been thinking about or researching career options.
2. Take a break
Because it can be exhausting explaining to your parents why Dentistry or Medicine isn’t your calling. Switch up your environment; take time to reflect, re-centre and re-engerize yourself.
3. Create your dream job description
Write down previous job or volunteer experiences that excited you. Create a list of jobs that interest you. Mesh different sections of job description that make your dream job description.
4. Connect with others
Now you will have a good idea on the type of job you would like to have, start connecting with people. LinkedIn is a great resource. Never be afraid to ask questions!
5. Embrace change
Be open to trying something different! After all change is unavoidable and opportunity to rediscover yourself.
What steps did you take to create your path?