I chose to go to a college 3,000 miles away from home against my parents' will.
They would have much rather preferred I stay nearby so that they could visit me if I ever got sick. But I chose not to, because I knew that my growth would happen much more powerfully somewhere new, exciting, and away from the pressure of my parents. I trusted myself and made sure I had all of my ducks in a row before I told my parents my plan.
This same reasoning also led me to apply to a study abroad program in Australia. I never told my parents I applied until after:
- I got into the program,
- Made sure it was affordable, and
- Laid out the exact reasoning why I wanted to go.
A lot of people would say that I'm irresponsible for consistently going against my parents' desires.
But that's not true. I withhold information for as long as it's not relevant to people. Why should I tell my parents that I want to apply to this program or that program? I haven't even gotten in yet! No need to clog up their heads with hypotheticals that haven't even happened yet.
I also consider it more moral to learn how to make my own decisions rather than constantly be burdening people with "can you give me permission" questions.
Think about a time when someone was constantly asking, "is it okay if I do this" or "is it okay if I do that". Pretty annoying, right? Sometimes you just want someone to just trust themselves, and just do it.
We've been socially conditioned since primary school to obey authority.
In what other stage of life do we have to raise our hands and ask to go to the bathroom? How demeaning that someone has to allow another human being to defecate. The worst part is, we look up to these teachers, not always because we respect them, but because we believe that they have the power to dictate our futures.
There's no way to get past a teacher you don't mesh well with either because they are required to "move onto the next stage". But if you don't graduate then your employment options drop considerably.
What makes the schooling system in America any different than any other form of indoctrination program?
Instead of forcefully teaching God and the cardinal sins to kids, they're forcefully trying to instill democracy and obedience to the government (albeit unsuccessfully). Public schooling has created a permission-seeking generation. It's made us think that we can't move forward in our lives until someone gives us that good grade, until someone grants us that degree, until someone verbally allows us to do what we want.
In this day and age, when we're in our 20s, we're still just kids only we have sex now.
It's kind of scary how often college is literally just a playground for some people. They treat it as if it's some hoop to jump through and once they do, they're magically gifted a job.
It's a popular belief that college is where "responsible" young adults go. But is it really so responsible to never do readings, finish projects the night before, and regurgitate facts and theories on demand? Are these skills worth bragging about to an employer?
Even the ones who work hard at the academic part of school: are you really doing anything of value? Does it really take four "busy" years to able to have marketable skills? Can it be done faster? And cheaper? In a more engaging way? Questions to think about.
And then we pretend that we're working hard and we're so busy because we're doing this club and this class has so much homework. Yes we're working hard but we have to ask ourselves one question:
Is it meaningful work?
Or is college just something you accepted because everyone else told you it was good?
Because that's what I did. I wanted to get into a top-25 school, so I did it. I don't regret my decision at the time, but knowing what I know now, I most likely wouldn't have done it.
It took me years to make my own decisions on things I found important. I can only imagine the pain and depression of someone I knew who felt like her life was controlled by other people.
But noticing that is the first step. It's time to be bold.
Knowing you succeeded on your own terms is one of the best feelings that could you could ever have.
Follow me on Instagram @theEvanLe.