For most of us, since we were born our parents have wanted the absolute best for us.
Their faces glowed when they saw our first shitty painting in Kindergarten. They cheered ferociously from the sideline when we won our first soccer grand final. They held back tears when we walked into high school for the first time.
And now, as we finally near the end of high school, their hopes could be extremely high with what you’re going to do with your life. This means the pressure is on to live up to their expectations. And if you don’t? It can feel pretty bloody awful.
When I was in Year 12, my parents went away for the weekend after my year finished trials. As a very professional Vice Captain, I decided it would be the perfect time to have the high school house party I’d always dreamed of and invited my entire year group over to celebrate.
I spent the entire night stressed, extremely drunk and running around like a headless chicken thinking someone was going to burn the house down, cause a riot or that my neighbours would snitch and call my parents.
After arriving home and finding vomit on the front lawn, my parents realised I’d thrown a party and the guilt I felt after seeing their faces was instant.
The high school movies that I had always idolised skipped the part where the protagonist lays awake in bed, wondering if their parents will ever forgive them; wondering why you decided to fuck up so much.
Eventually, like all bad feelings do, the guilt dissipated, I learnt my lesson and I now have a fun high school story to tell (I also now realise that my party hadn’t been that big of a deal, but it was my first time crossing my ‘rents in a way I had never done before). But, dealing with my parents disappointment is something that has taught me a lot.
There’s plenty of times you might feel like you’re letting your parents down- taking home a bad report, failing a class, getting a low ATAR or dropping out of uni. In these situations prepare yourself to feel a little low for a while. Your parents might say things that make you feel worse, you’ll beat yourself up and the whole situation can feel awful.
What’s important to remember is that a mystery mark, choosing to take a gap year or dropping out of uni isn’t going to ruin your entire life and your parents will realise this too.
Regardless of how you think you’ve stuffed up, think about how much of an impact it will actually have in the long run. In a years time is anyone even going to remember this? What about two? Or five? Probably not.
Parents have a hard job trying to balance wanting the absolute best for you with coping when your life doesn’t work out exactly how they envisioned. They want you to be happy and successful and sometimes they have some outdated ideas on how you’ll achieve this.
Remember, all of our shitty feelings are temporary. Your parents will forgive you, you’ll realise that it isn’t the end of the world and you’ll go on to do something that will make your parents bloody proud and forget that you had a heap of your mates in their backyard getting blind without their permission.