First, Practice Gratitude.
It’s very important to be grateful for what your parents have provided for you. If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely grown up in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. If not, then at least you’ve grown up in one of the better neighborhoods of your own country. You also likely have parents who have invested and sacrificed a lot of resources including time and money to get you to where you are today. In fact, it’s very common for Asian parents to save for their children’s college educations many years in advance so that the child doesn’t have to pay a cent; this is almost unheard of among Western families. You’ve probably also been instilled an excellent work ethic from an early age especially if your grades at school were held at such high standards. So realize that you could be a lot worse off.
Philip Guo wrote an insightful article about how to understand where these Asian parents are coming from with their extreme obsession with their children’s grades. Exam scores have determined the careers for many individuals in Asian societies for decades. If you’ve studied Chinese history, you may have heard of the Imperial examination which was popularized during the Qing dynasty or the Gaokao (the infamous and grueling college exams) in modern China. Even the SATs were influenced by the Chinese Imperial Exams especially since they were used for Army recruitment a century ago.
If your main reason for wanting to deviate from the life path that your parents have set for you is because you feel you’re working too hard, then I’ll be frank with you: please stop reading this site. In fact, be prepared to work even harder than what you’ve imagined you’re capable of if you desire to live your life on your terms. Remember, even though your Western friends may have lower grades than you, they’ve been used to juggling a job or two while pursuing high school or college and learning valuable job skills and building their networks while you single-mindedly grinded your way through your academics to achieve your 3.7-4.0 GPAs.
Sit down and list at least 10 things you’re grateful of from your Asian parents.
Your Reading Assignment
In addition to Phillip Guo’s article above, please read Amy Chua’s infamous article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” if you haven’t already. Although I don’t agree with everything in that article, it provides valuable insight from the Asian parents’ perspective.
Then, read the Teenager’s Guide to the Real World by Marshall Brain. Yes, the title says it’s for “teenagers” but please read it regardless of your age in order to get yourself up to speed for dealing with the basic day to day challenges of the real world instead of your parents making all the decisions. Click on the book below to buy from Amazon or go to Worldcat to search your local libraries for a copy.