You are actually lucky…

Question: I’m 16 years old and a junior in high school.

My problem is that I’m not good enough for my parents. I’m Korean, if that sheds any light. My sister was valedictorian, won a full ride scholarship, and her “just-in-case” college was ranked in the top 20. My brother, who was laid back and popular, was in the top ten of his class and ran varsity track. He played six instruments, two of which he learned himself, and went to a top five college- on scholarship, of course. Both of them are in medical school.

I’m still in high school, but it’s clear that I’m not of the same caliber as my siblings. However, I get straight A+’s and A’s. I have a close circle of friends, but I’m not popular. I’ve played eight different sports, three of which I pursued seriously. An injury two years ago ended my athletic career. Much to my parents’ delight, this meant I had more time to study! I participate in the marching band, various academic teams at my school, and youth group/mission trips at my church, volunteer at the hospital, practice three instruments daily and study for the SATs. I barely have time to do homework and study for school. I’m always stressed. I get in big trouble for small things. Even when I don’t do anything wrong, my parents ground me for weeks at a time so I have “enough time to study.” I’m really close to my brother, and he always sticks up for me but unfortunately, he’s so busy that he can’t come home as often as I’d like. Often, I feel lonely and trapped. I feel like there’s not enough time to do everything I need to do. I usually get 5-6 hours of sleep per night and struggle to stay awake at school.

I don’t want to be a doctor like my dad and siblings. I don’t even know what I want to do. My dream school is in the top 20 (the same school as my sister’s “just-in-case” school) and my dad tells me that it’s a very real possibility that I won’t get in, which is true but discouraging. I love my parents, and I know they love me, but we have a very formal relationship. I can’t remember the last time my parents told me to my face that they loved me or gave me a compliment. I know it’s just because they’re used to a stricter culture where kids are pushed beyond their limits. I can’t handle that. To be honest, I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Can you help me? Thanks very much for taking the time to help!


PS- I’m usually a very happy person, but I’ve had a particularly rough day, so I’m sorry for the depressing tone of my letter. =)

Answer: Gia,
You actually are a pretty lucky young women. You have many things that others only dream of. So on one hand I suggest you count your blessings and be happy for the things you have. On the other hand you can’t live for your parents dreams. At some point you will have to break away from them and do what you think you need to do for your life. What I can suggest is that you should continue to focus on school and finish it well. If you choose to go to college, then you can start with doing what you want to do. You will be pressured by your parents to conform to what they want most likely. That is why it is a good idea now for you to have a general idea of what you want to do. That way you won’t find yourself a senior in college not knowing what to do because you continued to follow your parents dreams not your.

Make yourself heard!

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