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Student Blogger: Honor your parents?

February 1, 2011

Bernice Chuang

Junior year is an important year. Maybe you begin to search for internships that might culminate in a job offer upon graduation, or you start prepping for graduate school.

It’s exciting, but I am finding it stressful to say the least. I’ve had two years to explore all the fun options college has to offer, but now, it’s time for me to make some big decisions.  In particular:

Should I pursue my masters in communications (or something related), get an MBA, or go straight into the journalism field?

My parents have been hinting, encouraging me to pursue a masters (preferably in business) because they don’t think journalism is a viable career path and believe you can never get enough education.

For some people, it might be easy to shrug off parents’ wishes and think “This is MY life, so I’ll do whatever I want.” But in reality, it’s not so easy for me to say that…

Many of you are probably familiar with the movie Mulan and the opening song that talks about bringing honor to your family. I was brought up in this shame-honor culture, where honoring your parents is what every child should strive for because you owe it to your parents. This shame-honor mentality coupled with my Christian values,which commands children to honor their parents,sets up the framework for my decision-making.

I would love to do as my parents say and pursue an MBA after college, but the truth is, I don’t enjoy any of my business classes now.

I would also just love to say “Ok, I’ll go to grad school and get my masters,' but graduate school isn’t for everyone, and if I’m serious about pursuing journalism, then jumping right into the career field will benefit me more than obtaining a masters.

So what do I do? Suck it up and obey my parents, or go with my intuitions into the risky field of journalism?

Either way, I’ve got some big decisions up ahead…..

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter February 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

“the truth is, I don’t enjoy any of my business classes now.”

That should be your answer right there. If you’re not doing something you love, like, or at least tolerate, you’re not going to be happy. If you’re happy you’re not going to excel and may not even make the great money (that everyone says you’ll make). Above all you will be wasting your life.

Sounds like you should take a year or two out and get some experience in the work world. Maybe an internship or two, or in an entry level position. Maybe do one journalism internship and one other in a different field and use this time to think about you want to do with your life and what career path you’d like to take. After that, you can decide whether you still want to go to grad school and if so to study what (you’ll most likely be in a far better position to makes these decisions).

For many grad programs, having experience in the work world with help with your application. Furthermore, there are reports that people who go into grad programs a little bit older and with some experience in work do better than those who go straight in from undergraduate study.

As for your parents, they have to understand that this is the west. The culture here values autonomy and the right for people to set their own path for their lives and in turn develop their career path and character. This isn’t just good for individual people, but for society in general.


bernice February 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Thanks for all the comments and encouragement! While my parents are heavily hinting me to do grad school and get an MBA, they have still made it perfectly clear that I have full autonomy in my decision. As an only child of two loving but over protective parents, it can be difficult to chase away their worries and fears about my independence in the future, but I’ve still got some time to draw out my future plans with my parents and help ameliorate their qualms.

Reply February 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm

As someone who just came from two years at a newspaper out of college, I can tell you journalism is a tough business right now. But I have much more respect for journalists who are truly passionate and do great work than I do for people who make a lot more money being mediocre at something that clearly bores them.

It probably won’t be easy, but maybe you should suggest to your parents that people are not honored for the money they accumulate, but the contributions they make to improve the world around them. Not to say that MBA students can’t do great things as well, but you’re much more likely to make an impact and earn respect doing something you love.


Ken February 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I would get your masters in business administration because it looks better on your resume. If you want to do journalism, too, you could do that too. Get your MBA at night. Good luck.


Natalie February 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hey I’m Christian too and I can truly sympathize with where you are coming from. One thing I think to keep in mind is that honoring your parents does not neccesarily mean that they should make every decision for your life. Honoring your parents means you sincerely take what they have to say into account, which I think you are.

Honestly you can truly bridge this gap. I think you should indeed apply to graduate school and get your MBA or something similar. If Business is not resonating with you then go for something else, no career is easy to get into nowadays. The years you spend at Grad school will prepare you mentally for the journalist field. In addition to Grad school, you can get internships and side jobs related to journalism to build up your experience with out the pain of possibly being fired, and not making rent, becasue in the end, you are still a student.

Also keep in mind, our parents come from different generations with different mentalities. Are your parents advising you based on research they have done, or based on what they assume is right for you? You have to see where they are coming from, but know that where- ever that is it is a place founded in love. Finally, remember that God didnt just give you any parents, but the parents He knew would guide you in the best possible way according to His will for you. Ask God what He thinks about this whole situation, when He gives you the go ahead- you can’t go wrong.

Hope that helps 🙂


bernice February 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Thanks for the encouragement Natalie! I will definitely be praying about my decision.


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