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Author Topic: Convincing family  (Read 9305 times)

Offline ssd43

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  • Posts: 1
  • PC Status: Applicant
Convincing family
« on: May 07, 2014, 09:49:06 PM »
Hi everyone!

I'm an incoming senior in college graduating next May and I've been thinking a lot about my future and applying for the peace corps. I'm a psych major on the pre-med/pre-PT track with the intention of going to DPT school next year. I've always had a plan for my future, kind of like I'm on a conveyer belt, but lately, I want to go off on a tangent, take a break, and provide substantial service to a community abroad. I've always integrated myself into local communities and have good volunteer healthcare experience abroad (in Uganda and India), so it's not something new for me to talk about volunteering or traveling.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that my parents will disapprove of a whole 27 months of service. My sister already has when I hinted at my applying. Her concern is that I'm never going to get back on track towards my said career. Her words: "you're going to be the kind of person that just travels the world with different non-profits, and you're never going to get married." Hahahaa yeah, I'm still waiting on telling my parents because I did not expect that reaction from my sister who has always been supportive. Usually, its my parents I have to convince to let me go places, but this time, it's my whole family.

I've read a couple of posts on yahoo answers similar to this and a lot of them talk about how you're an adult so you don't need their permission and whatnot, but I'm close to my family and respect them so I don't want to go against their wishes and just want their positive acceptance.

So, a couple of questions for you:

How did you break the news to your family and friends?
Did you face any negative reactions/concerns/disapproval?
How would you convince family members that this is a positive change in my life?

-Thank you for reading this, any advice is appreciated, and wish me luck as I tell the family about my plan :)

Offline koji

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    • Transitions in the East
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Re: Convincing family
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 12:29:02 AM »
Getting approval from my family wasn't important to me. However, I think that if it were I would have been honest about the fact that yes, PC can change your life goals and put you on another track entirely, but it can also refresh you, give you a deeper understanding of humanity and allow you to return your home really appreciative of it. Perhaps try getting together your favorite pc literature and have them read about or watch some experiences to help them understand why it is important to you to go on a longer volunteer trip than you already have. Really, to give more concrete advice you would have to share their concerns as every family has different reasons for not wanting you to go. For instance, if it is your safety, be ready to discuss your own plans for safety and how the pc supports you. If it is not seeing you then inform them that they can definitely come visit during the two years, and you may be able to go home, if that is something you want to do. I do know some of my fellow pcvs had family's that sort of freaked out at first, so going in with as much information and confidence as possible would be a good idea.

As for your sister being afraid you wont settle down and get married- many pcv's meet their future husband or wife while serving- either from the country they are serving in (like me) or a fellow pcv (at least one dating pair from my group got married). For me, I wasn't even thinking about marriage as an option when I left. However, living in a culture where family, and extended family, is really important and relationships are a bit more serious from the beginning slowly prepared me for the idea of marriage and a family in a way that American culture couldn't. By the end of my service, when I met my husband, I was open to falling in love and sharing myself in a way I would not have been if I had stayed in the US. So perhaps telling your sister it may help you be ready to settle down when you return?

Offline Steve S

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Re: Convincing family
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 08:42:49 AM »
Was never good at mother-daughter or sister-sister persuasion, so my suggestion is to work the father-daughter and perhaps extended family angle (have a simpatico aunt?) after you apply and are nominated playing up your need for a break from school and previous good experiences. The issue of the timing, a common theme is, "do it after medical school or marriage" can be dealt with in many ways including joining PC with your marriage partner, careers in public health, etc.

Offline Naledi

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Re: Convincing family
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 02:05:40 AM »
I left nursing after 4 years to come to peace corps. i have served for 9 months now. my mother still hates that i am here. she is still convinced i will not go back to nursing, or to home for that matter. haha. i put her in therapy upon receiving my invitation letter. but to me, this was my decision. she will deal with it. i will go home. i will return to nursing. i will settle down later. my biggest point was that i needed to do this before life got in the way. i needed to do it before being settled down. the real world loves that we have this kind of experience and it only makes us look better for school and job applications in the future. if this is what you want, stand strong. they will support you after the shock wears off. my mother sends me packages and checks in on me all the time. she still wishes i wouldnt have done this, but fact is, she has no choice at this point but to be supportive. i already left! i shared links to tons of peace corps volunteers blogs with her, and as soon as i got all the info i shared it all with her. she read every word of every pc document she could. once i knew what country i was going to, i shared blogs specific to my country. it helped when she had a better idea of what i would be dealing with.
life is too short, you need to do what makes you happy. family will support you in the end no matter what, they're family. and you are only doing something good with your life. good luck!


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Re: Convincing family
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 04:37:56 AM »
My dad's voice went up three octaves when he heard I was going to Africa, and he was worried the whole time, but I think they knew it was something very important to me so they dealt with it. Know why you want to go, demonstrate to them that it is important to you, and hopefully they will take it well.

As far as the moving on in your next stage of life comment, two things. One, you will come out of the PC with around $6000 of readjustment money, which goes a long way when one is applying to/moving to a new city to start grad school/paying off undergrad loans to be able to afford grad school. Two, 6 months post-COS, the majority of people in my group are en route to grad school or are already in grad school. I think PC looks really good on an application.  Also, getting a PT degree is a big, expensive investment, and it cannot hurt to have two years to really make sure it is what you want to do with your life.