The Parental Pressure of STEM Majors


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Khadijah Samiya, Staff Writer

Since childhood, many parents tend to engrave a divide between “good jobs” and “bad jobs”. The “good jobs” are careers that they know have a good salary based on their own knowledge and experience. The “bad jobs” are careers that they don’t know many careers of and think of them as low-paying jobs. These tend to include non-STEM related careers. There’s a real bias for STEM jobs, that could be due to the increase in demand and/or typically, the increase in the salaries. According to JobList, a study confirmed that “48% of people felt that their parents strongly influenced their career path, while almost 40% felt pressured to follow their parents’ career advice.”


Parents tend to want the best for their children, but sometimes their methods may come across as harsh and they could get taken away with it. There’s a bias that makes people think that certain majors may lead to unsuccessful lives. Many people don´t think about the unlimited career possibilities and limit themselves to just a few, at most. For instance, when it comes to history majors, a teacher might pop into your head, but not a museum archivist or a park ranger.


It’s common to turn to your family members and friends when making a big decision, but at the end of the day, you’ll be going through with this decision, so don’t have any regrets. When asked about advice for future seniors, a senior at ERHS said “there is no shame in not going to a prestigious school.” It should be what’s right for you and what would work for your future. Another senior mentioned that “life would just get harder, so it’s better if it’s the path you’d like to take, instead of living someone else’s dreams.”


When pursuing a degree in a non-favored major, many students tend to experience exhaustion early on, which could lead to negative effects on their mental and physical health. According to HCPLive, “Medical students who are coerced by parents to pursue a medical profession because of family or cultural values are more likely to express uncertainty or signs of burnout in pursuit of their degree.”


With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces still maintain similar virtual work environments. This has proven that careers in developing technology will be in demand, even in the coming years. According to YETIAcademy, “Employment in STEM occupations is projected to grow 8.8% by 2028, and healthcare occupations, which generally require a strong STEM background, are projected to grow even more. Meanwhile, non-STEM occupations will only grow 5%.” Due to the less demand for non-STEM careers, they’re less likely to convince many parents of their child’s future being successful. 


When dealing with conflicts about others doubting your future with your academic choices, a good, stable plan would help convince many people. Sitting your parents down and explaining to them how you’re going to use your degree beneficially could help decrease stress on both sides. Parents could also help with encouraging their children after a bad exam or class, which could help correctly motivate and push them to try harder next time. Limiting dinner conversations to non-school-related conversations could also help reduce tension among parents and children. It’s also very important to keep in mind that a student’s high school GPA doesn’t determine if they’re prepared to major in STEM majors. This could lead to a lot of stress in college, which could result in low grades and exhaustion.


Make sure to choose your own path in whichever direction you choose. There shouldn’t be a bias toward certain paths in college and beyond.