DR. WALLACE: I’m the quarterback and star player of my college football team, but I recently suffered an injury that the doctors think unfortunately will likely bring about the end to my football career at any level.
I’m devastated and have no idea how to process this major life change. I feel as though my world has been upended, and I have no direction moving forward. Honestly, if it wasn’t for football, I don’t think I would have even gone to college. I’ve never been very serious about academics, and football was the only area in my life in which I felt I truly excelled. Where do I go from here, and how can I find the best way to do this? — Game-changing injury, via email
GAME-CHANGING INJURY: I feel badly for you given your situation. However, I’m very encouraged for your future prospects as well. The fact that you took the time to write to me here indicates you are already underway in your process to move forward.
At this point, I encourage you to stay in college. Take a good look around the subjects you are presently studying to see which might be interesting to you. Speak to every professor you have on your current schedule. Explain your situation and ask for their best advice. Now is the time for you to solicit as many unbiased opinions as you can.
Since you have had such a great interest in football, there might be an opportunity for you in that field. Would you perhaps be interested in coaching? Or working with athletes as an agent or financial adviser?
Speak also at length with your head coach and all of your team’s assistant coaches. They all know you well and will be interested in helping you in any way they can.
I suggest that you approach your quest for the next chapter of your life as you would a big football game. Study your playbook; read your charts; watch tapes and videos of any fields that interest you. The great news is that you already possess a desire to succeed, as evidenced by your athletic successes, so do your best to channel that drive forward toward your next venture.
MY PARENTS DON’T LIKE MY MAJOR
DR. WALLACE: I am 18 years old and am about to enter my freshman year of college. After lots of ACT studying and hours of writing essays for my applications, I have finally received my admissions decisions.
I got into my top school as a communications major and am super excited and proud of myself. My parents are excited as well but are not exactly thrilled with my major choice. They are worried that there will not be many careers or much money in jobs my major leads to and that it might turn out to be a waste of all of my time and effort.
I want to work in social media marketing, which I do not think they completely understand because of the newness in this type of job in today’s digital world. They say they want me to go into a major in math, science, or business so that I can be guaranteed a “good” job after college. I understand why they are saying this, but I am passionate about communications and the way I plan to work in this field. Would it be wiser to go into a different field, or should I stay with the one that I already know that I love? — Journalist at heart, via email
JOURNALIST AT HEART: Your parents sound very old-school to me. I always advise young people to follow their passions as long as their desired path is ethical, legal and legitimate. Your selection qualifies on all accounts.
I suggest that you take the time (and use your modern skills) to make a custom “presentation” for your parents. You can set this up on your computer as a video and graphics presentation that runs no more than five to 10 minutes. In it, I suggest that you present the selling points you see in this industry and do so in a manner that your parents will be able to both grasp and understand.
Part of being a good journalist is knowing your audience and doing your utmost to present your materials in a way that benefits your readers and viewers.
Also, get a few letters of recommendation from some of your teachers and have them specifically go into at least mild detail about the field you’ve chosen and why it makes sense in today’s modern world.
In the end, I see this decision as an easy one for you. It’s your life, your potential career and your time that will be dedicated to a job in this industry. Follow your heart for as long as it makes sense for you in this arena. Take the time to explain this to your parents the very best you can. Give each of them a big hug, tell them each that you love them and then look them in the eyes and ask for their support. I trust you can bring them toward a better understanding of what you plan to do!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.