Dear Crabby, My Parents Don’t Like My College Major

Dear Crabby,

I have decided that I want to be an English major in college, but my parents don’t approve.  They say that I will not be able to get a real job. However, I love English and everything about it. Should I listen to them? Did your parents try to change your college plans?

Sincerely, Brooke Worm

Dear Brooke Worm,

Well, it’s almost too hard to remember back that far! The best I can remember, my folks were placing bets on whether or not I would even graduate high school the first time around. I think they were so excited that I got accepted to a college, they couldn’t have cared less what major I declared.  But, the world was a different place back then. English was the language we all spoke; it wasn’t really a major we declared. We had to choose careers to major in, like accounting, engineering, pharmaceuticals, etc.  I am torn on how to advise you in this matter. I am a firm believer in pursuing your dreams and finding the job you will love. However, I also think that many kids are just plain morons and need a little guidance. I have not met you yet, so I can’t make that distinction. Your folks seem like they care about you, or at least their investment in your future. I would try to think about what kind of job you would enjoy. Maybe you would make a stellar English teacher, or a terrific editor, or an acclaimed author. The education in English is valuable, but try to think big picture and see how these classes will help you achieve that. I know that the missus and I were all about encouraging our kids to be all they could be and to explore all their options. But after we had paid the first couple payments for our son’s college bill, he came home on a break and told us he wanted to become a dancer. I more than casually shared my opinion on that one. Then, when our daughter came home on a break in her second year and told us she wanted to take a couple years off to tour the world and pursue her love for Native American Art, I showed her the bills I had already paid and told her after that was paid back in full she could ruin her life any way she chose. So, we were all about options and dreams; we just weren’t about to pay for them if we didn’t agree with them. So as long as your folks are paying or helping to pay for your education, you need to extend them the respect they deserve. Think about it, and let me know how it works out for you.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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