Can you make your parents proud with your choice of college or career?

star asks: Hi Shirelle. Sorry if I’m asking too many questions, I just don’t know who else to ask! I’m really trying hard to make my parents proud. The things I most like to do are singing, comedy and playing guitar, but in my country I cannot really go anywhere with these things. So I have to study at a school abroad, such as in the UK or US. Can you help me find a school there? I really need and want to make them proud!

Hi Star –


No problem!  There’s no reason to feel bad about asking me questions, that’s what I’m here for!  I love answering them!


So I need to look at a few things in your question separately.  First, about trying to make your parents proud.  You know, different parents feel pride for different things.  Some parents would be absolutely thrilled for their son to become a rich stockbroker, while others would be appalled and say he’d lost his soul.  Some parents would love to see their daughter become a wonderful artist who never makes any money at it, while others find that idea terrifying.  So my first question to you is: Would your parents really get proud if you became better at performing music and comedy?  I think those are great things, but I’d hate to see you feel disappointment if you work for years to make them proud, only to realize they really hoped you’d become a lawyer or a math teacher!


As far as schools in the UK and US go, there are tons.  I don’t know how much luck you’d have in the smaller towns of either place, but if you went to, say, London, New York, or Los Angeles, you’d find yourself surrounded by literally hundreds of schools and teachers of the performing arts.  Some of them will be prestigious universities where all sorts of things are taught, some will be specific world-famous schools of the arts (Juliard in the U.S., the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in the U.K.), and others will simply be terrific teachers who work on their own.


Of course, there will also be, in those same places, lots of lousy teachers, or even fakes who will pretend to be experts in these fields but only take your money.


So here’s my advice.  Pick ten performers you’d like to emulate.   Who are your favorite comedians, your favorite singers, your favorite guitarists?  And sit down and write each of them a letter (you should be able to find addresses on their websites, even if they’re supposed to be for fan mail), and ask them who their teachers were, and if they’d recommend them.  You might try both emailing and actual letter-sending, to increase the chances of them looking at your letter.  Maybe only one will write you back, but that’s enough.  You can then check out the people they mention, and see if they’re still available.


If none of them write you back, you might want to look into the colleges and universities in those countries.  Some schools will teach these specific subjects, and might even be very good at them.


But whatever you decide, what’s most important is that you love what you do.  No teacher can replace the true love of the art.


Best of Luck!




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