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Stress from parents during uni


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I know there's quite a few people on here currently (or previously) enrolled in some kind of post-secondary institution that can relate. I'm receiving a lot of stress from my father. He constantly asks me what my grades are, and at the same time tells me I should be getting high 80's and 90s. Whenever I even mention something below an 80 I get a "you should be spending less time with your girlfriend" or "you should have focused more" or, more recently, "how much money did you spend on this semester?" I answered "about $7000," to which he responds "... money well spent..." It's this negative, non-supporting, judgmental attitude that leads me to constantly lie about my grades and my future potential vocation. Currently I'm expected to be going to physiotherapy school next year, however, I've been very displeased with my biology degree (in terms of interest and future potential work) and have decided to take a one year post grad co-op programming course at a local college (I've been doing computer repair for years and learning web dev for a few months now, and have decided this is what I want to pursue as a future career). I realized my 5 years in bio undergrad would have been a waste of time and money, but I can't change that now (at least the college programs I'm applying to require a degree, so it's useful for that, I suppose). My only "light at the end of the tunnel," if you will, is that I have about 1.5 years to go until I can be working full time and be able to move out, and get away from the constant pressure and stress from my dad.


TL;DR: my dad is stressing me out because of uni grades and career expectations, tell me your thoughts

Edited by Twinbird24
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This is his last chance to help you, after raising you to this point, and his biggest single investment in you to date, one which he's hoping to reap abundant returns on (seeing you be successful in ways he might not have been). To make this all about him stressing YOU out seems pretty selfish.


I've usually found that when people feel this way about each other, it's a misunderstanding. You think it's about money (he wants to know how much you spent). He thinks it's about responsibility (since you're here to get a degree with the best grades possible, how can you say you've been responsible when you get a bad grade AND you spend so much time with your girlfriend?). You think you should be able to do it all, because socialization is important too. Your dad knows that this is your shot at getting a huge leg up on life with a great education, and he sees the rest as distractions, obstacles, and impediments to all the work you've both done to get you here. There will be other women, other parties, other distractions after college, but now is the time for college.


You should sit down with dad and discuss the new direction you want to take. He's going to resist because it's changing The Plan, but it's not the Plan itself that's important, it's having one in the first place. I think your dad just wants to know you know what's on the line. Dad's done what he needs to do to insure he's getting the most bang from his buck, and the only factor he can't control in this is the way you treat the gift he's giving you. It's not just about the money. It's about the money that bought the opportunity he hopes you aren't pissing away by not taking it seriously enough. If that's the impression you're giving him, try something else, because neither of you need the stress.

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A very high percentage of people have one or more major changes of career during their professional study and subsequent working lives.

This trend is for this percentage to continue rising.


Note the first change can occur either at college or immediately after.

I know two sisters who both completely changed tack after graduating college.

One did foreign languages and then returned for a further degree to qualify as a speech therapist,

I forget what the second originally studied, but she went back and qualified as a podiatrist and now has her own thriving business in podiatry.


As a matter of interest you only mention your father. I don't wish to pry into your family circumstances, but does your mother not also have an opinion on this.


Whatever, physiotherapy is a highly respectable occupation that can take you far.

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Thank you for your replies, it does help add some perspective. In terms of money, I just want to clarify that it's my own money (he's not helping me pay for it). I understand that he wants to see me succeed, and I know he cares for me, I just hate his approach of demanding and expecting rather than encouraging and supporting. I try hard in school, while other times I feel overwhelmed and struggle to understand some concepts, at which point telling me I'm doing bad is only going to make things worse for me. My mom cares about my studies too, but she is far less demanding and less aggressive - my dad is very opinionated and not as supporting of big changes like this. My biggest fear is being told how I'll be ruining my life and/or what a stupid decision I've made, although I'm much happier, and much more excited, motivated etc. about this new career than I ever was about biology and physiotherapy.

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In terms of money, I just want to clarify that it's my own money (he's not helping me pay for it).


"Dear Dad, I'm having some major stress about the way you criticize the way I spend MY money on MY education. I really appreciate all you and mom have done for me. You've taught me to make good decisions, complicated decisions, and now I need you to trust me and give me some verbal support as well. Neither one of us needs the stress."

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Since I am at university, I am receiving a lot of stress for my parents either (especially, when it comes to money) and in my opinion, they are absolutely right! My whole life, they have done everything for me and without them and their (financial) help I wouldn’t have gone to university at all… therefore, I can understand why they want to know everything about every step take ;) As long as I depend on their money, I have to listen to them.. they just want what is best for me (like your father just wants whats best for you ;))

If you cant handle it, you have to talk to him about it!

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