Thanksgiving is here, complete with food comas, football, and fielding questions from family about what you’re doing with your life.
Maybe it isn't a big deal in your family. Maybe you wanted to be a veterinarian or an engineer or a school teacher since kindergarten, so your college plans come as no surprise to even the most distant relatives around the dinner table.
For others, you may find yourself explaining your choice to go to school out of state, study art history, or don the colors of a sports rival. You may not even know what you want to study, yet.
Don’t panic. We’ve come up with a few suggestions for how to handle your family’s questions about your college this November.
Remember—it’s your choice.
Getting your degree is a big deal, and it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make at this stage in your life. Your friends and family may have their own ideas about what’s best for you, but at the end of the day, this is your choice to make.
So while it’s a great idea to listen to other people’s advice—especially from those who know you well—keep in mind that this is your college journey.
Talk about why it matters to you.
If you find yourself fielding questions about the schools on your list or the programs you want to study, explain why these things matter to you in the first place.
Share what excites you about your degree. Explain the career paths that interest you. Talk up the opportunities at your campus and what student organizations you might want to join. Let them know that you put a lot of thought into this.
Tell them where you want to go.
Sometimes people make assumptions about what a degree means for your career. They might underestimate what an academic discipline can mean for your future, or how you can make surprising career moves with your degree.
If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you might recall that we’ve written about unexpected career paths for degrees, including well-paying jobs for liberal arts majors, business students, and aspiring artists.
Ask questions of your own.
At this stage of the application process, there may still be a few questions of your own that you haven’t answered yet:
- What kind of housing will you choose?
- What happens if you get in to multiple schools?
- What happens if you don’t get in anywhere?
This is a great opportunity to get some advice from friends and family while making them feel like they’re a part of your college decision. Shift the conversation to areas where you could use a second opinion—you’ll get some feedback on your choices, while not getting into the weeds of why you picked your major or why you prefer a certain school.
No matter what, keep in mind that Thanksgiving should be a time to catch your breath during the application process. Chow down on some good food, spend time with your loved ones, and take a day or two off if you need to—and then come back ready to make some good progress on your college journey.