Dog Abby, advice from a Golden

College Woes – Dog Abby

Dog Abby,

When I was younger, I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become an engineer. My parents happily saved up to put me through school. But now that I am two years into university, I have discovered that I really have a passion and an aptitude for writing, and want to pursue that avenue instead. When I told my father that I was planning to change majors, he got upset with me. He implied that I had deceived him and my mom just to get into college on their dime. Abby, I had no such intentions, and I am very hurt. I know I would be a decent engineer, and would probably make more money doing so. Should I abandon my plans, and stick to engineering?


Concerned in College

Dog Abby paw print


Dear Concerned,


Today mom and dad took me to my favorite park in Las Vegas. It has a large lake with ducks and geese, lots of walking trails, and lots of grass for rolling around in. Mom and dad usually let me go without a leash because I normally behave around other dogs and people. But it had been a long time since I had been to this park, so I got really excited and did not listen when dad called me. He put me on the leash, and most of the rest of our time at the park, I had to stay on the leash. Dad did not stay mad for very long, though. When we got back in the car, he called me a good doggie and I still got a treat when we got home.

Just like my dad being upset, it is possible that your dad will only be angry for a while. After all, most moms and dads want their children to be happy.

My mom and dad both say that successful people are the ones who are the most passionate about what they are doing. It looks like you are not so passionate about engineering. You said you knew you would be a decent engineer, but that does not mean you would be happy doing it. If your true passion is for writing, then you should pursue it — with the understanding that passion is not all that you need. As much as I would like to be a Frisbee dog, I am bad at catching things in the air. I can be passionate about it, but I also need to be talented at it. Whether you are an engineer or a writer, you will need the talent on top of the drive and passion to succeed.

Here is a third way to consider. If you truly believe that you would make a decent engineer, you can finish your engineering education and then continue to take writing courses while you are working in your new field. You may even find that your niche is writing about engineering. Many successful writers have worked other jobs while doing what dad calls “moonlighting,” or writing as a second job when not at their main job. That is what mom did after she got a degree in accounting. It turns out that mom was good at accounting, but really hated it. She was also good at writing, but her parents discouraged her from pursuing it when she was younger, much like your parents are doing to you. Mom thinks it is funny that she has now made more money writing and speaking than she ever did as an accountant. Grandma even ended up being proud of her, which was cool.

You can always find a way to pay your parents back the money if that is really important to them. No matter what, in the end, you need to do what makes you feel most secure and happy. Talk to your mom and dad and be respectful and loving. They will do the same for you.


With love,



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