I am often the first person who discusses money in the context of salaries, career paths, and college majors with 17 year old college counseling clients in Shoreline, CT. Or maybe I’m the first person that many of these students listen to but, regardless, it is always surprising to me when a student-client expresses that they never really knew that forensic science workers for the state do not make a lot of money. To be clear, that career path – along with many others that do not make a lot of money – are good paths for some and, in general, I don’t direct people to head into careers based solely on financial potential. But… it would be helpful if these young people knew such facts before making these decisions.
Many affluent parents – such as those in Shoreline, CT – were cultured in the Dead Poet’s Society ethos where we were scarred by the horrible movie Dad who pressured his son to give up acting. I get it! I don’t want to burst the bubble of either my children or anyone else’s children. There is no reason why these young ladies should not vigorously hone their talents. But, too often, when I am providing college counseling advice to our clients, I will hear a student suggest a career path that does not comport with a realistic understanding of how the world works. I am a perpetual optimist. But I am also a realistic one. I have no problem telling an aspiring filmmaker that he should pursue his passion. I also add that he should spend the summer immersed in studying his craft, learning how to edit films, understand the nuances and subtleties of camera angles and lighting, and create several short films. I tell such students about the 10,000 hour goal (mastery comes after many hours!) and that they need to curtail their socializing, video-game playing, social media viewing, endless texting etc. to get in those hours. And, I tell them that there is no certainty that they will be successful. Some move forward. Many don’t.
I would like to think that I have saved many parents some hard battles with their children when I go through this exercise!