Recently, I’ve been swamped with school, and most dreadfully, college apps (to explain for my lack of blogging recently). As the issue of college gets nearer and nearer to me, an inevitable conflict has risen up as my parents get involved in the college process. The problem is this: I want to pursue journalism and politics and something of that sort as my major; whereas my parents disagree.
Now, they don’t straight up disagree with me. They did, but now, they just say, “You know, Titus, it’s unfair to force you to do something you don’t want to, especially since you worked so hard. So we’ll support you.” Yet, it’s obvious they reluctantly did so. And reluctant support is not support at all.
I recently found out that if I had wanted to go to any top journalism university, it was very likely that my family would have to pay around 40k to 50k. My parents said that was too much. Yet, I found out to my dismay that had I been pursuing the typical STEM that everybody at my school was chasing, my dad would have willingly hopped onto the board and invest his 50k into my education. The reason? Because journalism doesn’t pay much to be worth the 50k, my dad says.
So I wanted to ask him, is the worth of a career really dependent on the salary or on the content of your job? But it’s his goddam money, so I didn’t do much and dropped back.
I perfectly understand why he’s concerned with the salary part. If I don’t have a good enough salary, I might have to spend most of my time worrying about the next place I’m eating or sleeping at. I might have a harder time trying to make a living. He’s concerned with my future, definitely, and that’s why he wants me to pursue STEM. Many people interpret this concern as love. My parents do. But.. I don’t. So the second question I’ve always wanted to ask my parents: Do you really love me?
In class, I rewatched 500 Days of Summer, a fantastic movie by the way. It narrates in achronological order the experiences of one guy (Tom Hansen) who helplessly falls in love with a beautiful girl named Summer. So much so that he doesn’t see the fact she only sees him as a friend. And when reality hits him, he goes into super depression mode and has a change in perspective on life. My teacher brought up the theme of love and had us think about it. So I did, and I asked myself, did Tom really love Summer? I thought back to all my crushes, and I was like nah, it was just lust. But “lust” didn’t feel like the right answer for Tom– he really put so much thought and emotion into their shared experiences and he really, just really, “loved” her. It didn’t feel right to dismiss his efforts as merely lust. But yet, it wasn’t love.
Actually, now that I think about it, it was love. No, he didn’t love her. He loved himself. Tom had carved for himself the perfect image of Summer and placed it so high on a pedestal that he truly loved that image. But that image was formed by his own thoughts and ideas of what the relationship was like. None of that was from Summer. And I guess all the girls I fell for in the past weren’t those actual girls, but what I thought was the perfect girl and how she was the most cute and charming. Both Tom and I loved our own ideas, not the girl.
And so it’s the same here. I remember overhearing my dad say, from middle school to now he has been doing all the right things, getting good grades, good scores, good extracurricular activities, yada, yada, yada and all that bs. And now, says my dad, he takes the last wrong step and decides to pursue journalism. Now, when in the world did he have the supreme authority to decide what I did was right or wrong? I aimed for good grades and good extracurricular activities for myself, not for what my dad thought was right. I now aim to be a journalist for myself, not for him. And I realize that in the end, I was just an attempt for him to make his own ideas of a perfect son come true. He never loved me; he loved his own ideas of what his perfect son should be.
And I realize I’ m probably not the only parent-child pair in this situation; I can imagine many of my peers at my school being forced to pursue STEM are like this. But I will never buckle down to what my parents think is right for me. If a parent loved his or her child truly, he or she would freely support the child to follow what he wants of himself.
And now I ask myself, do I really love my parents? And to be honest, I don’t know the answer myself.