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Not Everyone Wants to be a PLEDs

“Be a doctor, it’ll make you a living and you’ll have the joy of helping people”. “Be a lawyer, you can make so much money and you’ll be secure for life.” Millions of teenagers across the world have heard both of these phrases repeatedly. Oddly, family members love to tell their uncertain teens what to do with their future. It’s the child’s life and no one else should decide what that child does in their future except, you guessed it, the child. Yet, it seems as if everyone wants everyone to be a pharmacist, lawyer, engineer, or doctor. Even guidance counselors push students to take STEM based courses that could potentially hurt their GPA, even if they're not interested in the class. It’s as if STEM is the holy grail of all careers— as if STEM careers are the only viable careers in the world. “There is so much demand in the STEM field, you’ll have a better shot at getting a job”. Well, Surprise!... if everyone has a career in STEM, then there will be more competition, less demand, and less jobs because of the overflow of people with the same degrees and ‘interests’— at that point, a bachelors in a STEM-related major would be essentially useless. Even if someone clearly affirms that their passion is music or dance, many parents and administrators that are not very knowledgeable in the arts continuously shove sciences down students’ throats as if it is the only path to a successful life. STEM is not applicable to every field, but administrators seem to disregard that fact. Fun fact, you’ll never need to calculate electrostatic force on a stage or on television. Is it that much of a surprise that some of us want to be performers, artists, writers, teachers, police officers, military, etc? We are not all going to fit into this ridiculous, intangible stereotype that they are pushing us to be. Even though students are constantly told to be different and unique and to follow our dreams, parents and counselors constantly push this notion of PLED down our throats, completely contradicting this “follow your dreams” philosophy. For people that have interests that are not STEM, everything begins to get worse when they become a senior and college applications are right around the corner. Every family reunion begins with “well, what are you thinking about majoring in when you get to college?” and most parents quickly jump in with a false image of what you want for your future or they disappointingly say “he wants to be a dancer” with a noticeable fear in their eyes. It’s understandable that parents want their children to succeed, but sometimes pushing children in a direction opposite of their own desires can lead to a miserable and failing future. College classes are difficult and, for example, if a parent forces their art-driven child toward a medical major, the child would have a higher probability of failing extremely rigourous and intense courses such as organic chemistry— a mandatory and noticeably difficult course for many college students—because they do not have the interest nor the drive to do well in that class. Not only will the child be miserable in their career, but also every person that surrounds them. If a doctor who was forced to study medicine had a patient to treat, the patient would want a doctor that was passionate about their studies, not someone who was absolutely miserable in their profession. What many parents and guidance counselors do not realize is that PLED jobs were popular more than a decade ago. Back then, many of those careers they praise were in demand. Back then. Not anymore. In this day and age, anyone can become a millionaire from making makeup tutorials or playing video games. Why? Because that's the power of the internet. We are in a digital age, and if parents do not realize this soon, they are going to set their children up for failure— no interest results in a failure because there is no drive. No offense to the older folks, but they simply do not understand the power of the internet in today’s world— anyone can make a living from doing something unconventional. In a few years, the need for lawyers and doctors will shrink as the power of the digital presence will continue to grow larger and larger. Our parents lived through a period of large shifts in global interests and many technological progressions, making it more difficult for them to change perspective about what is currently needed today and what’s not. In a span of 10 years, everything will be digital where anyone can find anything. Millennials are becoming more and more self taught due to the power of the internet and are using this knowledge to create new careers and new studies. Soon enough, people will use their new software, their new technology to research their symptoms and get a diagnosis and there will be no need to go to the doctor of the flu. Soon enough, someone will come up with a new and innovative defense system, so they won’t need a lawyer. We are constantly improving and become more reliable on ourselves. So, if your parents and family and guidance counselors and siblings and friends are all pressuring you to a conventional career type, the world is not against you, the people that surround you have not yet opened their eyes to the innovative and progressive world that is right in front of them. It is up to the individual, it is up to you, to decide what you want to do with your life. PLED are viable careers, however, they are not the only viable careers.

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