College Is Your Experience - Not Your Parents'

"What's your major?" and "What do you want to do with it?" are the top questions that bombard college students throughout our careers. Although some of us know exactly what we want to do and some of us are undecided, there is a percentage of students who have a passion, but cannot pursue it because of their parents.

Throughout high school, I had plenty of friends with parents who would harass our teachers about the student's "A-" in a course and they would excessively oversee every aspect of their child's life. When I came to college, I thought that the age of the helicopter parents would end -- I was definitely wrong. I chat with my friends about their parents who choose their course schedules and are forcing them to study a specific subject (usually math, technology, or science). This abrasive and intrusive parenting has created a feeling of discomfort, and frustration amongst some of my peers.

Academics: It is a hassle if your parents pay your tuition, because they might hit you with the infamous "You can do what you want when you start paying for it ." Oh lord, we've been hearing this expression since we were old enough to talk. Although it may be true that they pay for your education, that does not mean that you should be subjected to a dictatorship. What you study during college will most likely influence your future jobs and career. Unfortunately, if you are forced to study something that you do not like, you will hate the career that you have and it will be even more difficult to break into the career field that you truly want. It is important to have direct communication with your parents to express that if you are not happy with what you study, then there will be a disconnect which will lead to further unhappiness.

Social Life: After the age of 18, your parents should have no control over your social life. No, I am not saying that you should go and be destructive just to defy them, but hang out with whom you'd like. College is where you start to solidify your professional and social network which will grow over the next fifty years. Use your best [people] judgment, but do not be quick to give up connections because of your parents' opinions.

YOU: My best advice for any college student (especially freshmen) is to explore, to figure out who you are by deconstructing who you think you are, and to have an intense passion for what you do. These four years can be lost in the mix of making others happy or they can be an enlightening experience for yourself.