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How To Tell Your Parents You're a Philosophy Major Now

By Jean-Jacques Buterbaugh
Dec. 5, 2018

You got home for winter break the other day but you can feel a lingering tension in the air. Your parents seem excited to see you but they can feel that you’ve changed. You know you have to tell them. Your legs are shaking. Your stomach is turning. This is the moment. After hiding yourself for so long, you’re finally going to tell them. 

This winter break, you're finally going to turn to them and say, “Mom, dad, I'm a philosophy major.” 

Letting your parents know you're a philosophy major is always a difficult process. 

They may relentlessly question who you are: “Are you sure this isn't just a phase?” “What? You've been in college for three months and you come back like this?” 

Or they may try to pressure you into returning to “the cave” by asking what dear old Granny would think. Or even blame it on someone else: “I knew Chicago was a bad idea. Someone turned my child into a philosophy major!”

Luckily, the Shady Dealer is here to help you get through this difficult time with this short guide to coming out to your parents as a philosophy major. By following these six simple tips, you can avoid any major-related dinner table awkwardness this holiday season. 

1. Choose the right place and time. 

It’s always difficult to come out, but you can make it easier on yourself by choosing the right place and time. Tell your parents when they’re in a good mood and while they’re not watching the news. You definitely don’t want them to be thinking about the latest job numbers when you tell them. 

2. Focus on how you feel. 

Generally speaking, it’s better for you to focus on “I feel” statements to avoid sounding accusatory or overly emotional. Try “I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do” or “I feel like this is the only subject I don’t suck at.” It’s no use talking in broad statements or bringing the outside world into the conversation, so focus on how you feel! Talking about your feelings is basically all your major is preparing you to do, so you better get started now. 

3. Let them know you're still the same person. 

One of the biggest concerns parents have when they find out their child is a philosophy major is that you’re not the same person they raised oh-so-long ago. Try to dispel this notion by explaining how you’ve always been a philosophy major. Bring up how you pondered on the state of the half-full (or is it half-empty?) juice box in first grade. See? You were always cut out for philosophy since the beginning! 

4. Be ready for the fire and brimstone argument. 

Sadly, this argument is a common one, and it’s one that’s difficult to counter, especially in the heat of the moment. When your dad starts yelling about such nebulous and insignificant concepts like “student loans,” “paying for our retirement,” or “bankrupting the family for a fucking useless degree,” you just need to take it. You know those bigots are below your intellect and their ideas belong firmly in the past. Your first quarter living the “Life of the Mind” has taught you that philosophy doesn’t care about material possessions. After all, it’s not like Socrates or Aristotle were only able to philosophize because they were bougie as fuck. You’ll be fine! 

5. Tell them you're double majoring in Economics, even if it's a lie. 

This one is a risky call, but it could help you get out of an especially sticky situation. Your dad will chuckle, “Oh, so this philosophy thing is just like a hobby then, thank God,” and your mom will start telling her girlfriends all about how you’re going to work for an investment bank one day. Just be sure that you mention “a clerical mix-up” which caused all your Economics credit to magically “vanish” right before graduation. That’s too bad, but at least you still have your handy philosophy major! 

6. Prepare yourself for rejection. 

In the end, no matter how much you prepare, there’s no telling exactly what could happen when you tell your parents that you’re a philosophy major. So treat this like you treat every Wednesday and Friday night of the year and prepare yourself for rejection. 

Now you’re ready to come out to your parents this holiday season! And we at the Shady Dealer would like to personally commend you for taking this difficult but extremely brave step towards being your authentic self. 

We, as comedy writers, would also like to inquire about any jobs you may know about. Please email us at [email protected] if you know anywhere that hires that doesn’t require any practical skills or work experience. Please. We’re desperate.