Doctor, Lawyer, or Actress?

I’ll be leaving for college in a few years so I need to start thinking about different colleges and careers to go into. Going into theatre and acting would be a dream come true, I love acting and musicals and singing. But my dad wants me to have a stable job, to become a doctor or lawyer. I would say I’m smart, and he says that I wouldn’t be taking advantage of “the gifts I’ve been given.” He says I could do acting and theatre as a “hobby” but, and if you do acting as a hobby, that’s really cool, but is it pathetic? To be a middle aged doctor with a family doing stupid musicals that five people show up to? Being a doctor or lawyer would be great and I’d be helping a lot of people, but it doesn’t make me ecstatic like acting does. What should I do?

P.S. I hope to get into Juilliard or [name_u]California[/name_u] Institute of the Arts, even if the acceptance rates are low.

“Becoming” a doctor or lawyer is a lot easier said than done! I’m a few years older than you, and my expectations for what colleges were realistic for me were a lot different when I was your age than what they are now. I know nothing about you, or you grades, but I do know that having a dream school can be dangerous. If I were you, I would just focus on studying and enjoying high school for now. When it comes time to apply for college, apply to several and see where you get in. Most people don’t know what they want to do until a few years into college, so you have soooo much time. [name_m]Law[/name_m] school or med school will not be a concern for you until at least 6-7 years from now, when you are finishing up undergrad college. You’ll figure out what your passions are, but don’t put too much pressure into what your parents say. Find what makes you happy.

I agree with @kipperbo1 on this.

For context, my mom is a doctor and is well respected in her field of pediatric psychology. She’s invited to conferences all over the world, reviews grants for the NIH, and has recently started leadership position at a children’s hospital. Both of my parents went to an [name_f]Ivy[/name_f] League school (as did my mom’s parents and their parents, etc.) and, naturally, they expected me to do the same as well.

Times have changed since our parents were in school. I had stellar grades, took more college-level courses than not during my senior year of high school, and I was in 2 NHS groups at my school. I also went to a public school in the mostly white, upper middle class suburb of a Midwestern city, and I’m a white girl, myself. [name_m]Long[/name_m] story short, I applied to 11 schools, including the [name_f]Ivy[/name_f] League and similar schools my parents pushed so hard for, and I got accepted into 2 of them: a state university with a 96% acceptance rate (still a good school… just the girl who sat behind me in math class who bragged about having only read one book in her life got in. That book was The Fault in Our Stars, fyi) and the school I attend now.

Worrying about my parents’ expectations for my college ruined my senior year of high school and still impacts how I view myself today. I don’t have much doubt that I’ve ended up where I needed to be but those rejections hurt and I can see it clouding my expectations for myself and my future. It destroyed my confidence.

This is not my way of saying don’t follow your dreams. This is me encouraging you to keep your options open, not put all your eggs in one basket, and, for the love of God, don’t let your parents pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do! When I got to college, I wanted to be a doctor! I wanted to major in biology, go to medical school, and become a pediatrician. Well, at least that was the direction my mom thought I should go in. She meant well, I swear. Then I realized I hated biology and the only classes I looked forward to were ones outside of my major. I switched to psychology last year, when my mom was out of the country, sparking a long discussion with my parents about what the hell I was doing. To be honest, I didn’t (and don’t) completely know, I just knew my place wasn’t in the biology department.

Here’s the thing, I can really relate to you. I’ve wanted to be an author since second grade and writing is one of the things I love most. Honestly, writing was what got me through freshman year of college when I was unsure about who I was, what I was doing, and where I wanted to go. I decided a long time ago that being an author wasn’t a very practical or stable career path. I still feel that way, which is why I’m pursuing another passion of mine which is child psychological development. I’m not closing the door on writing, and if the opportunity arises to pursue it as a career, I’ll jump. I think the same thing can apply for you and acting.

Find something you’re passionate about beyond acting and theatre. It doesn’t have to be a “Plan A/Plan B” thing, it’s just a “I care about both of these things and find joy in them” thing. Apply to those long-shot schools but don’t rest all of your life’s plans on getting in. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you end up there, great! If you don’t, look for acting classes at the school you do end up at.

TL;DR don’t let your parents control your future. That’ll only make your life harder. Focus on what you love and what you’re passionate about, both including and beyond acting. [name_m]Don[/name_m]’t feel pressured to plan out your life now. You have time. And, even when the time comes, it’s never too late to change your mind.

Good luck! [name_m]Feel[/name_m] free to DM me if you want to talk.

Thanks so much for that. I really needed it ”. I also enjoy writing (I got the highest score out of my teachers 200 students for an essay we had to write and got a perfect score on my state essay last year). I have straight A’s, a 3.8 GPA, and all advanced classes. Being a doctor would be nice and I wouldn’t be “unhappy” with it but acting would be my dream. If I don’t get into Juilliard or [name_u]Cal[/name_u] Arts, I’m also going to apply for [name_m]Boston[/name_m] University and NYU, Tisch School Of the Arts. Thank you for your kind message.

Choose what you really like. If it is acting - take it