@BATANG PARDO: I’m doing online gigs to make both ends meet. The pay is good but luck hasn’t always been on my side. I’ve been struggling since as far as I can remember. My parents are stuck to the pattern of life and debt. I am helping them send my younger siblings to school. I am already losing hope. Friends often question why I am still in school. It’s funny that both of my parents finished college. Aside from their diplomas proudly framed and displayed on a wall, nothing much came out of these. We are still poor. And I’m the breadwinner. Should I just quit school and find more work? And for how long am I obligated to support my family? I have dreams too.
DJ: Your life is totally yours. Separate from your folks. Just like they shouldn’t force their beliefs on you, you shouldn’t just hand over control of your life to them. Even if they’ve got degrees but are still kinda broke, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to the same fate. It’s your life. You’ve got the power to call the shots. Why give it up?
Now, the whole deal about needing a degree to make it big is already as old as higher education itself. I get it. You’re wondering if it’s worth your time and money considering that you’re running low on both. The answer is yes... and no. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Jobs like nursing, architecture or financial control obviously need that piece of paper. But jobs like copywriting, coding, customer care, software development or digital marketing require success in actual work as the main indicator of what you can offer. Plus, it is common these days to see people pivot to jobs outside of their majors. There really is no singular path to success. It’s up to you.
What is success in your book? I believe this is the real question. It means different things to different people. For some, it is reaching a certain level of financial stability or professional achievement. A diploma might be necessary for future advancements. For others, it is having a fulfilling personal life or a positive impact on the world. What do you value? What goals are you rocking? How do you want to leave a mark? What kind of lifestyle do you want? What do relationships mean to you? Success is subjective. It’s your call.
What type of person are you? Some people need passion for their career. Otherwise, they’re just miserable doing something 40 hours a week on a job they do not like. If that’s you, then prioritize your passion and trust that hard work pays off down the road. Other people can roll with whatever as long as it pays the bills. They can find enough meaning outside of work anyway. If that’s more your style, you are super flexible. Pick a path where your skills bring in the cash.
Your obligation to your family is voluntary. That’s my opinion. Thinking about your sibling’s education is noble. But don’t go all in and lose yourself. You cannot run on empty. The cycle of obligation can feel like you’re living for the family and this can breed heavy feelings of resentment or hopelessness. If you have not done it yet, I suggest you start having conversations with your parents and siblings. Be real with them. Make them understand you’ve got dreams too. They are family to you just like you are to them. They should have your back as well on whatever success means to you.
There has to be a space in your life to chase your dreams or at least the margin to even start thinking about them. Set goals and priorities that align with your values and passions. There is no one right or wrong answer. What matters most is that you define success for yourself, make moves to achieve your goals and live a meaningful and fulfilling life. However that looks for you.