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ettalee's avatar

How can I choose between my dream career and what my parents want?

Asked by ettalee (86points) January 11th, 2022
34 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

I really want to study Fashion Design when I go to University. I’m really passionate about this subject and would love to have it as a career. But my parents totally oppose this, they want me to work from home and start my own fashion business from home but if I don’t know much about fashion how am I supposed to do this? I am studying fashion as a BTEC in college. They won’t allow me to go to a University even if it is just near me. They haven’t even let me go out even once by myself or with my friends, and this is why I get nervous when talking to strangers. I understand their worry about my safety but I feel this is too much overprotectiveness. I want to study in Korea (I’m in the UK), mainly because my subject is fashion, and the fashion industry there is constantly developing. I’m too nervous to even tell my parents I want to study abroad. I haven’t even worked once! I know I’m going to be 18 and I can make my own decisions but it really isn’t all about independancy in my culture. Please help me on what I should do.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

You live in the UK? You should be able to move out when you reach 18. I don’t think they can keep you at home forever, especially when you are old enough to legally leave. Do you know any friend who can put you up when you reach legal age?

But on the flip side…

My friend has experience with studying in Korea, and she told me that the grading system there is so broken that studying becomes a dog-eat-dog experience. So basically, a classroom will always have 40% people with A or A+ grade, 40% people with B grade, and 20% people with other grades. No matter how much score you get from your work, the teacher will always have to do something to make sure this percentage is achieved at the end of the day. As a result, competition is extremely high. You could get a 9.5/10 for a work and get a B for overall score if enough of your friends have 9.6 or higher. That puts everyone on constant lookout for each other, and everyone constantly lives in fear of having rubbed their classmates the wrong way just because they happen to do well in learning. Even if you don’t care for score that much, the toxicity of other people would still affect you. It’s a very cruel and unfair system.

Why do you have to study in Korea? Doesn’t the UK offer what you want? It’s not like you live in a third-world country where opportunity to study is so limited studying abroad is the only option. Studying abroad isn’t always this dreamy situation where you go and everything is open for you. It comes with heavy responsibilities like fending for yourself, overcoming culture shock, or just finding your way around a strange place. And from what you told us here it doesn’t seem like you are fully prepared to be alone in a strange place with strange culture.

Not to mention you don’t even know much about the field you are supposed to be passionate with! When I was your age I used to really like to be a game designer. But then time passed and I realized that I was just in love with the idea of it, not actually doing it, and I have zero knowledge of how to make a functional game. Maybe that isn’t the case for you, but maybe spend some more time researching on the fashion industry to see if it’s really the thing for you?

I’m not saying these to undermine your passion. I’m just saying that you always have to weigh out the pros and cons carefully when making risky decisions, and come up with a solution that will benefit you the most with the least chance of risk. You are still very young and still exploring the world. The thing I would recommend doing now is to explore your options and see what really suits you.

snowberry's avatar

Well said @Mimishu1995!

Since you’re not yet 18, you have time to think things through. Please stay. We’ll support you and help with your process.

janbb's avatar

It seems to me that you have a long way to go in terms of experience and growth before thinking of going abroad to a foreign country to study. It seems like your parents are very strict and not letting you have the social interactions you need in order to grow. Is it possible to work on those aspects of your life before considering a university course? It seems like you are studying fashion now at a technical college; is there some work you could do with that degree that would give you experience before pursuing a university course? Also, if you are working and making your own money it may be easier for you to declare independence from your family if it becomes necessary.

In other words, you need to learn to walk before you can run and the goal of studying in a foreign country seems unreasonable and potentially harmful to you. Work on growing yourself and negotiate more freedom with your parents first.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m not commenting on your relationship with your parents, but one person I know decided to pursue her dream until age 30 then make a decision based on her success and interest.
She is currently heading to school to train as a butler.

smudges's avatar

Can you sew? That’s probably the first thing you need to know how to do, and sew well.

You live in the UK?!

“Home to some of the most successful British high-end fashion designers including Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, London is a major player in the fashion industry and has rightfully earned its place as one of the most important iconic fashion capitals in the world.” And you want to move?

seawulf575's avatar

My responses have nothing to do with your dream. They have to do with your relationship with your parents. I don’t know you or your parents, but I have been a kid and have been a parent, so I see both perspectives.

First, you seem to have a hard time talking with your parents. Again, I don’t know your parents or your specific situation. But communication is going to be a key in every aspect of your life and right now it doesn’t sound like it is going so well. Personal relationships, business dealings, scholastic achievements and goals all take communication to make them successful. Take this current situation. Your parents have one viewpoint and you have another. Have you taken the time to actually have the conversation with them? Talk to them and listen to them? Explained your views, the things that you dream of and the things that bother you?

Another thing you need to look at is the consequences. Every choice you will ever make has a consequence to it. You will go through life weighing options, looking at pluses and minuses, evaluating risk to the best of your ability. And based on your deliberations you will make choices that may or may not have the desired consequences. You need to be ready to shoulder those responsibilities. Take your current situation. Your parents want a specific future for you and they have a picture in their mind of what you need to achieve that goal. Their views are all based on those considerations. But their decisions aren’t in line with your desires. So you have a decision to make and consequences to consider. You could go along with their plan which will likely not result in you getting your dream. Or you can decide (since you will be of age) to chase your dream. That would include a university or foreign travel that your parents may not pay for. So you might have to go it alone down that path. You need to weigh your options. But they really all start with communications.

In the end, at some point you have to be an adult. Being an adult means making decisions and living with the results…good and bad. There are great rewards to working towards and realizing a dream. Even if you don’t get rich off it, you build self-esteem. But there can also be great risks. Living someone else’s life will make you bitter and miserable. And trying to blame others will make you feel even worse.

As a parent, I always wanted the best for my children…Always. I didn’t always agree with their choices but I let them make them. I would explain my views when I felt it was warranted but demanded very little of them. And I was thrilled when they succeeded, whether it was my view or theirs. I suspect your parents are very controlling not because they are tyrants, but because they worry about you and don’t understand that at some point you need to make decisions on your own. I’m willing to bet they love you very much but they don’t know how to talk to you or listen to you. Time to work on that.

Patty_Melt's avatar

First, let me comment that Mimi is uniquely experienced to advise you regarding your choice.

Secondly, in regards to your parents. Maybe you see them as overprotective. Maybe they are, or maybe just normal protective. We have only your say to go on. Lots of people your age consider their parents overprotective. The outcome does not change either way. It is obvious to me that you are using school choice as an excuse to put distance between you and your parents.
Likely you believe you can better make your own decisions so far from them. What you will learn, soon, or not, is that until you can face a conversation of consequence with your parents, you will find the rest of the world impossible. Now, maybe your parents will listen to your desire for school, possibly not. You stand a better chance if you are well prepared with facts. Make a list of things which support your decision.
Maybe your parents want to be supportive, but you have a habit of poor decision making. That is not an accusation. I’m just trying to cover possibilities here. It is possible they know something you don’t see about yourself, and they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Again, I’m guessing, because I’ve never met you, or your parents.

My overall take on the situation is to follow your dream, but not out of country. Save Korea for after you have made a name for yourself at home, then expand to new territory.

First issue to tackle, conversation with your parents, and a deepening of your relationship with them.

Kropotkin's avatar

You’re very lucky to be passionate about a subject you want to do.

Follow your dream and ignore your parents. They mean well, but parents are naturally neurotic about their children, and usually just cause anxiety rather than good decision making. They haven’t a clue what’s best really, even if they think they do.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

@Kropotkin nobody here is denying her dream or saying she is bad for having her dream. Nobody is saying her parents are right either.

But what we are talking about here is that she is still very young, and hasn’t been fully prepared for the dream yet. She doesn’t have enough knowledge of her chosen career, she doesn’t have enough social skills to even navigate around her own environment, let alone another country with a completely different culture. And worse, we aren’t even sure if her “dream” is truly what suits her.

I don’t think I would fare well if I had blindly followed my “dream” of becoming a game designer.

I agree with you that she is lucky to be passionate, and having issues with authority can be a good thing. But sometimes, you have to use your brain and consider whether coming full force on the “authority” you are against will benefit you in the long run, and whether you are fully prepared to embrace the responsibility of being independent from that authority.

ettalee's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Thank you so much for answering!

1. I have no friends – they weren’t the best so I have nobody other than my family.

2. I know UK offers the subject I want to study, and I have even considered London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins as well as other great Universities. I’m guessing I want to leave the country because my parents won’t have control of me. I’m Asian, and most people know that a lot of Asian parents won’t let the child stay out the house until their married. (Not saying I’m getting married as I put my career first and my parent’s aren’t cruel) We have a lot of family throughout the whole of England. We all know each other, and especially in our culture/ family, people talk a lot and totally frown upon girls going out alone. I completely disagree with this – it’s none of their business, but it still affects my family and pride.
Another thing – money. Going to University here is expensive than going to Korea. If I decide to go to London to study, it isn’t cheap going by train or car every day ( it’s 1 hour away from my home) neither is living/ renting a room there. In Korea, it is much cheaper, and I get to be independant, even if it means I’m not fully prepared. I’ve always taken risks and enjoyed challenges.
Also, I’m never inspired when I’m at home. It’s only in school where I get new ideas and can sketch really good garments.

3. I have researched plenty to know that it’s not going to be fun and easy. I’ve researched a lot about Korea and their culture, as well as everything that goes on there. I know it’s going to be different in terms of everything. I’m retaking year 12 due to medical emergencies in the family, so I have 2 years to decide what I want to do and it’s plenty of time to learn and research. And as I have said before, the fashion industry is developing, it’s something I love and am passionate aboout. I want to experience something different other than here or the US.

4. I am really passionate about the subject. My grandma and my mum sew clothes so it’s nothing new to me. I’ve grown up watching both of them and I guess that’s where I got my passion from. In my fashion lessons were are doing clothing patterns, and it’s something i love and enjoy, as well as garment construction. – So i know this is the field I am passionate about.

janbb's avatar

@ettalee Good luck to you!

ettalee's avatar

@janbb thank you!

ettalee's avatar


I really don’t think it’s possible. I’m currently looking for work experience preferably something in the fashion industry (it’s a requirement in our sixth form), but this is proving to be difficult as most of the job opportunities are in London, and not anywhere close to me. I don’t understand how I’m going to do this. I’ll probably work in retail like H&M or House of Fraser – it’s not what I want but it’s close enough!

Yes, i am currently working on earning more money from home as I’m not allowed to work outside. Thing is, even if I work from home, my parents have an idea in their head that “I should have a successful business/ high-income job, so when i get married I can rely on myself” – Keep in mind that my parents aren’t forcing me just encouraging it as it’s part of our religion and culture. But I’ve already told them that I’m putting myself and my career first, then I can think about these things later. No matter what I do, it’s not going to be easy. And even if i turn 18 this year, it’s just a number for them. I’m not crazy but sometimes I’ve thought about just leaving when the time is right and focus on myself, but that’s going to be impossible since I’m the eldest in the family and I am so close to each and every one of my family member.

I have done research and will be doing more about the country, and I feel like the reason I’m doing it is because I want my freedom. You can see the answer I gave to @Mimishu1995.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m guessing I want to leave the country because my parents won’t have control of me.

That could be a very big problem. So the core idea of you studying in Korea is because you want to be free from your parents right? That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t a good motivation to go to another country, especially when you say you have problems talking to strangers and you have no friends in your place. Going to another country won’t automatically make you a more confident person with a lot of friends like some sort of magic spell. It could even create new problems that you couldn’t image before i.e. at least your parents can have your back when you get in trouble. Who would you fall back on in a bunch of strangers?

I’m Asian too, and I understand where you are coming from. When I was your age my parents were very strict just like yours in fact, I would consider you lucky, because at least your parents allow you to open a fashion business at home. My parents didn’t even want me to do what I wanted. And in my situation, I couldn’t really talk to them, but I had friends who were sympathetic of my situation, and I got to talk to them when my parents were unavailable to talk to though admitted I didn’t have genuinely good friends until I went to college. So I’m just thinking, instead of thinking of moving away, how about expand your social circle beyond your family? You don’t have to restrict yourself to real life, you can use the Internet to find like-minded people. In fact, a lot of people I consider good friends are from the Internet. If what you really want is someone who will listen to you and love you for who you are, then that would be a much safer and better choice than going to a foreign country.

And I don’t know about the UK, but could you read what @smudges said about the fashion scene in Britain and confirm if that it true? And also I don’t want to force you into anything, but if I was you, I would prefer a stable and secure learning environment. I could always experience other culture as a tourist.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Mimishu1995 You may have missed it, but ettalee is in fact already studying fashion design in college. It’s not “I want to do something that I’ve zero knowledge and experience in”.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Kropotkin Yeah, I know that she studies fashion in college. She also clarified that she knows something about fashion from her family in her response. So I took back what I said there.

But still, her dream is to move to a foreign country, while having problems with social skills and having never been anywhere far away from her parents. This is where she has to reconsider whether parting ways with her parents would be a good choice.

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t understand why it is necessary to go to Korea. Once you turn 18, you can be free of your parents. They don’t have legal control over you. If you are planning on leaving the UK, why Korea and not the U.S.? There are plenty of good fashion schools here and you would not have to learn a new language.

ettalee's avatar

@LostInParadise It isn’t necessary for me to go to Korea. That is one of my options if I can go there. I have already said why I would like to study there.
US was actually my first option since New York is literally one of the biggest fashion cities in the world. I would love to study there but the crime rates put me off. I know that all that information is online and I’ve never spoken to someone who’s experienced living there, so I can’t really say if its really dangerous or not.

ettalee's avatar

@smudges Of course I can sew… It’s the number one necessity to have if I want to study fashion! I know that London is a fashion city where a lot of successful designers have come from. It’s just that I wanted something different. I was born in the UK and lived here for my whole life. I want to experience something different and understand other cultures too and their clothing style. Not every country’s clothing styles are the same. (Not talking about traditional clothing) For example, fashion in the US would seem different than the UK. Or fashion in France would be different to Italy.

ettalee's avatar

@seawulf575 I completely agree with the points you’ve made.
I have talked to my parents about Univeristies in the UK but never abroad. They dont agree with me. I’ve talked to my dad separately and he doesn’t agree either but has said that he will support me. But I don’t think my mum will allow it even if my dad supports. I have a great relationship with my parents, but when it comes to these things, I get so put off talking to them about it. I have explained what I wanted but they dont understand me. I really dont want to argue with them about it or leave them as it will affect our relationship and they’re the only people I have – no friends.

ettalee's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Honestly, I would have been friends with a lot of people outside and online if I were allowed. I dont have any social media – it’s really fustrating. So I can’t talk to anybody. This is the first time in ages I have interacted with people online.

ettalee's avatar

@Kropotkin although i agree with you, its not easy to just ignore my parents. They are the only people i have so this is why i have to be careful about everything. I cant risk having a bad relationship with them when I have nobody else to rely on. The only friends I had moved to another college and the ones left with me I just dont care about because of their behaviour towards me.

ettalee's avatar

@Patty_Melt I have talked to my parents about going to a uni here but not abroad. If they have said no so many times for here its not going to be a suprise they say no to Korea (or anywhere else) too. I guess they’re overprotective because of the rough childhood i have had and am still going through. I’ve told them that let me make my own decisions and that they are too overprotective as everything I do is controlled by them. But it just backfires on me. It’s the most annoying thing ever since I can’t get my point across to them without them judging my decisions. I am mature enough to fend for myself if they let me. If they had allowed me to be social with others whether it be my friends or outsider and not restricted me then I wouldn’t have been here asking for help.

Patty_Melt's avatar

It is obvious to me that you don’t want advice. You want a cheering section.

That leaves me out. I’m not a cheering section.

Just looking at the differences between the question details, and responses to advice, obviously there is a lot of internal doubt and conflict.

If you want your parents to hear all your concerns, you have to have the patience to hear theirs.

But, you want a pat on the back, and a bunch of cheering.
Not from me. I don’t believe you have considered your options with an open mind.
Since you have family scattered across the country, perhaps you could confer with a larger group than just your parents.

smudges's avatar

I’m impressed that you have responded to every single person who has answered you and I gave you a “great answer” on all of them for that!

You’ve gotten a lot of advice here for you to think over. I’m glad that you have a couple more years before you have to make a definite decision. You can think about the pros and cons and hopefully come to the right decision for you. It will also give you two more years of growing and maturing, not that I’m saying you’re immature. I think that you’re a very determined, passionate young lady who is fighting to break out of the shell you are stuck in and I believe you will make your mark in this world. There are two things I would encourage, and that’s to better your relationship with your parents – not looking to find fault, just to talk and get to know one another better. The other thing is to try to socialize more. That will help you whatever you end up doing and wherever you go.

I wish you the very best in life. :o)

P.S. Glad you can sew and I didn’t mean it as an insult, just wasn’t sure.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@ettalee notice I didn’t say “social media”. Most of my Internet friends are from this very site. I tried social media and it did nothing but fuel my depression.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Ok. I read a bit more into your responses to us, and a couple of things pop in my mind.

So you think the fashion scene in different countries are unique to each other. Personally, I only partly agree with you. Of course different culture will appreciate different styles of fashion. But we are living in an interconnected world now. Cultures are being introduced and shared across the world. We are no longer living in a time where a Japanese had to wear Kimono or a Westerner had to wear breeches and stocking. Nowadays an Asian can wear Western clothing and Westerner can try on Asian clothing. Fashion designers are combining different styles from different cultures for their design. So in the past you could be right that different places would be different, but in this new world today, the difference has been drastically narrowed down. You only need to learn the basic of things and you will realize that pretty much everywhere is the same, just with some variants here and there.

If the only reason why you has to choose Korea is to experience a different fashion scene, you would be better off coming to my country instead. It’s much, much cheaper there, there is no gun, there is no crime that makes it to the international headline unlike Korea, and of course you get to experience a completely different fashion scene because, hey, it’s a different country right?

And I notice this pattern in your answers: a lot of your hardship could be boiled down to “I could have done it if my parents allowed me to”. From making new friends to choosing what for a career. A lot of our advice and suggestions are impossible to you because your parents just don’t allow it. Even @Kropokin’s advice to just go with your dream isn’t possible because you can’t leave your parents because you have no one else to rely on. And you can’t get more people other than your family to cover you because… your parents don’t allow you to have friends.

And your biggest dream is to move to another country to escape your parents’ control.

I want you to seriously think about this: you have no friends. Your parents are so strict they limit your choice in everything. They don’t even allow you to go outside. You don’t have anyone other than your parents to fall back on because you are surrounded by bad people and you can’t go online to find a friend because your parents don’t allow you to use social media. You don’t have anyone you can trust in the UK, let alone anywhere else in the world. You have poor social skills because you have never been far from home. You have difficulties talking to strangers. This is the first time you ever talked to someone online. You don’t know what is outside of your immediate surrounding. And yet you want to go to Korea, a country with a completely different culture from yours. And you are going to go there and stay there alone, all by yourself (because you have no friend). You are finally 18. You are of the legal age to be an adult. Nothing has changed about your environment, and you are still the same person. You can’t wait to go to Korea. And your parents know nothing about your plan.

Now first, how are you going to travel? Where exactly in Korea are you going to go to? Where do you get the money for the trip? How are you going to book a plane ticket without your parents’ knowledge? And how are you going to step foot on the plan, again without their knowledge? Do you think they will just let you go that easy, after years of keeping you under control? And without someone to back you up, how are you going to successfully escape scott free?

And if you, for some reason, manage to escape, what’s next? Where are you going to go? How will you find an accommodation? How will you get money for tuition, housing, or just plain living? What are you going to do in case things go bad? How will you navigate around the place, surrounded by strangers who most likely don’t care who you are? How are you going to talk to a stranger for anything, when you can’t talk to strangers when you are in your own place? How will you make friends when you don’t have experience with having a good friend before? And how are you going to deal with the stress of everything, from culture shock to the toxicity of your learning environment?

snowberry's avatar

@Mimishu1995 has said some hard things, but she’s right.

Whatever you plan to do you need to take it in small steps. Incremental steps. I highly recommend you get to know Mimi, because she understands you and your situation far better than any of the rest of us. She’s also very kind, as well as practical.

Don’t get discouraged. Understand that this may take a lot longer than you planned, but you have potential to make some excellent friends here. Fluther is a great place to start.

ettalee's avatar

Thank you to everyone who responded. I wasn’t trying to rude or mean in any way by the way!

This is only an option and the things everyone has mentioned really do open my eyes. I will take into consideration everything that has been said and will get back to you if needed.

Thank you so much!

smudges's avatar

Keep your chin up, lady. ;)

King_Galaxius's avatar

Do your dream job and do what your parents want as a “side hustle”.

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