Should I follow my parents' path or make my own?Answered
As I approach junior year I have been constantly assaulted with questions of "Where do you want to go to college?", and "What will you major in?" When asked these questions I face the dilemma of "Do I say what I want or what my parents want?" My parents will tell anyone who listens about my SAT score and how I will study aerospace engineering at CalTech or MIT. The truth is I really want to apply to the US Air Force or Naval academies. I've discussed this with my parents and they have adamantly told me that they won't support me if I make that decision. They believe that military service is too dangerous because my grandfather and uncle both served. My uncle came back after getting a TBI from an IED and my grandfather doesn't talk about his time in the army. To compound all this I am a female and their youngest child. If I apply and I don't get accepted into one of those programs I fear that my parents won't allow me to access the college fund they have for my siblings and me and I'll have to pay for college completely on my own. If I do get accepted my parents have implied that I may not be welcome at home again. To top all of this, they may be able to delay or prohibit my application because, at the time I apply, I will still be a minor. I feel that I'm faced with the impossible decision between my family and the desire to serve my country.
I believe that you should weigh your options. If you believe you want to go to the US Air Force or Naval academies, and you are sure you have a good chance of getting in, then go for it! If you don't take this opportunity, you may never get another one. But, if you think that you have a bad chance of getting in, or your grades aren't high enough, then you should try and buffer up your resume, but if that doesn't work, then try to follow your passion through Caltech or MIT. Overall, I think you should go for it if you have a strong chance of getting in, but if you don't, buffer up your resume.
I would recommend trying to talk to your parents about how you don't want to do what they want you to do. Have a calm conversation with them so that they might be more understanding. Also, ask why they don't want you to do it, as it could be that they don't want you to get hurt. Parents know things that you might not realize, so try to resolve this with them. Ultimately, you should do what makes you happy instead of your parents. You could try talking to your other siblings or family members about this as well. They could give you advice or back you up when talking to your parents. If no one in your family supports this, then find out why and have a conversation about it. The best outcome would be your family supporting you, but that might not be the case. If after all this they don't support you and you still want to serve in the US Air Force or Naval academies, I would highly recommend talking to a guidance counselor at your school. They can help you see both sides and then ultimately help choose what to do.
I think this is a question for the people in your life that know you. My outside opinion is that the military is wildly different today than it was when your family members served. Your parents are letting personal experiences get in the way of their rational judgement. If you don't want to serve in infantry type combat then they shouldn't have any concerns. To convince them I would find someone who supports your desire to serve whether it's in your family or somewhere else and see if they can help you. I hope for your sake that your family wouldn't disown you for pursuing a high-quality, free education. Just try to get them to see your side and be empathetic to them and I'm sure it will work out. Good luck.