Learning to Fly


Dear Dharma,

I’m sure my parents are disappointed in my current choices and although their advice and approval is very important to me I need an objective outside source for guidance.

After graduating from high school with excellent grades I moved to another city to study what my parents thought I would excel at.  Except my heart wasn’t really in it so in the end I dropped out after one semester.

After that I lived at home for a while and worked to save up money and the following year I enrolled in a different university in another city and took a completely different program.  Then things kind of went off track when I broke up with the guy I’d been dating since junior high and I ended up dropping out of my courses.  Since then I’ve been working and living with roommates just barely making ends meet.  Oh! I know, I’m confused as hell!

Here’s my question…should I sit out another year and really take the time to figure out a career path and the schooling to get me there or should I get back on track now and register for fall classes?  And did I mention? I have a new boyfriend and while this is fun and exciting I’m beginning to be concerned about my future.

Flying Solo

Dear Solo,

Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up can be a daunting thing… I always envied people who just seemed to figure it all out and move towards their end goal.

I can see why you are struggling here, because until you know what it is you want to do there is no sense (in my mind anyway) in going to school for the sake of going to school.  Trying to please your parents is understandable, but you can’t make your adult decisions for them – they don’t have to live your life.

Without knowing all the details, I’m wondering if this situation you’re in is collateral damage to the major life changes you’ve recently had.

It sounds like you were pursuing something you were interested in (the different program at a different university in a different city) but then other parts of your life went off track (the break up with your boyfriend) and dropping out of school was a knee jerk reaction to the stress.

It doesn’t sound like you dropped your program because you changed your mind about it, it sounds like you dropped it because you were overwhelmed by everything else that was going on around you.

Just as a side note, the new boyfriend totally perpetuates that state of flux…  If you had been with your previous boyfriend since forever, then being in a new and exciting relationship with someone else would be quite an intoxicating distraction!  I get it.

If this is anywhere near the mark, then maybe reconsidering the path you were on wouldn’t be the worst thing. It would be a shame to permanently abandon a potential career path because of a temporary state of unrest, non?

If I’m way off and the decision to drop out of school had absolutely nothing to do with the scenario above, then it might be best to take a bit more time to get things figured out.  Except… don’t let it take too much time.

You’re young, and you have the luxury of not knowing how fricking fast it all flies by.  One year off can turn into five pretty quickly, and by then the thought of giving up your income and your lifestyle to pay out money to go back to school becomes rather unappealing.  Five years after that it will seem all but impossible.

If you have access to any career counselling, use it.  If you have access to people you think could give you unbiased advice, talk to them.  Do the whole “where do I see myself in five years?” thing and then ask yourself if what you are doing today is going to move you in that direction, even marginally.  Your answer to that question should give you an indication of your next steps.

Good luck!  You’ll get it figured out, don’t worry…



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Categories: Advice, conflict

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