A letter of advice (6C Loo Hoi Kei, Ella)



You write an advice column for Teen Magazine and you have received the following letter: I’ve been thinking about my future. I love animals and I’ve always wanted to be a vet. But when I told my parents the first thing they said was ‘No’. I feel really frustrated. What should I do? -J. C.

Write a letter of advice.

Dear J. C.,

I am sorry to hear that your parents don’t support your aspiration to be a vet. It feels awful when you aren’t supported by the people you love most. Many of us have experienced this feeling during our teenage years, including me. At first, my parents weren’t big fans of me being a journalist and wanted me to be a teacher or doctor instead,but now they are being super supportive. And I’m going to tell you how I did it in this letter.

To begin with, ask ‘why’. Communication is always the first step in solving all problems as I mentioned and all my previous letters on relationships. Your parents love you. They always have your best interests at heart. But sometimes what they think is best for you may not echo what you have in mind. It is normal, considering we are all unique individuals with minds of our own. So the first step is to understand why they disagree with you being a vet. Is it because there isn’t much prospect of being a vet in Hong Kong? Is it simply because they hate animals and don’t want you to have anything to do with them? Or maybe they realised some practical difficulties that can’t allow you to become a vet. For instance, they may not be able to afford the tuition fee for you to get a degree overseas since such a degree is more recognised in Hong Kong. Talk to them and understand the worries. Only by understanding them and spotting the underlying causes of the disagreement can you really solve the problem.

Before I get into the problem solving part, another tip I’m offering is to stay calm and sincere during the discussion with your parents. Although sometimes they can make you feel really frustrated and make you feel like they are being irrational (trust me, I know), just try your very best to stay calm and continue the discussion. Pouring out your anger can only do harm to the situation and hurt your parents, leaving you with regret. So whenever you feel like you’re losing control of your emotions, just remind yourself that your parents love you and you love your parents. You wouldn’t want to do anything that will hurt them.

By staying calm and sincere during communication, I am certain that you can find out the real reason behind their objection. The next step is to formulate a solution according to the problems. If the problem is your parents being concerned about your prospect, do some research and persuade them why you believe being on that can allow you to make a living. If the problem is insufficient funds for overseas education, search for scholarships that allow you to do so, and work hard on your studies to achieve that requirement. Persuade them that you are determined with your actions, let them know that this is really what you want. They will understand. My parents did when I was feeling the same problem. I bombarded them with all the prospects that journalists could have and map out a really detailed plan on how I’m going to achieve my goals. After a few rounds of debate, they saw my passion and determination in being a journalist. Plus, some information I offered did lessen they worries a bit. Realising that it was impossible to talk me out of it, they accepted my dream. And with time, they now see how being a journalist brings me joy and satisfaction. They become one of my biggest supporters! The thing is, your parents may not understand you immediately. These things take time. It took much effort for my parents to simply accept the idea of me being a journalist, and years for them to really supporting my decision. But I believe with your passion and determination, you too can do it. Take the time, make the effort, and they will understand.

The last piece of advice is to believe things will work out eventually. I’m telling you this from my own experience and the experience of many writers’ like you for my column. Ada was someone that had the same trouble that you did and wrote to me a few years ago. And I received a letter from her yesterday saying that she had successfully been admitted to a bachelor’s degree in arts with the support of her parents. So no matter how frustrated you are now, just know that this feeling will not last long and there is always hope. Life always sorts something out in its own mysterious ways. With the addition of your effort, I believe you too will also be rewarded with life’s gift and get your problems solved.

I look forward to seeing you as a vet in the future. Write back to me when you achieved your goal. I’m more than happy to receive letters from my dear readers. And if you have any other problems at all, just know that your agony uncle, Chris, is only one letter away.

Best regards,

Chris Wong