Many students feel pressure from their parents to do well in their studies while they are abroad. Although a little bit of academic pressure is normal, lots of pressure from your parents can lead you to feel stressed and may lead to an unhappy Australian study experience. Here we list some tips to help you manage your parents’ expectations as well as your own.
- Talk to your parents about your studies: Discuss your course with your parents, including the subjects you are studying, how much work you are expected to do and how you are assessed. It helps if they know about your course and how you are doing, rather than pushing you to achieve top marks without understanding what you are actually studying.
- Set realistic goals: If your parents have high expectations and want you to get top marks in all your subjects, try to reach a compromise and decide on some more realistic goals. Talk to them about what it’s like to study in Australia and how your assessments are marked. In most Australian universities, for example, a mark of 80 per cent or more suggests excellent work (this is often called a ‘high distinction’). It’s usually quite difficult to get a mark of 80, with some teachers reserving these marks for only a small number of students. Scores above 90 per cent are very rare.
- Discuss difficulties you are having: Be honest with your parents and make sure they know of any problems you are having with your studies. This means they can adjust their expectations and give you the support you need. Your parents should know that it may take some time before you are achieving top marks. It is perfectly normal to experience difficulties adjusting to the learning and teaching style at your Australian institution or to struggle to keep up with the new content you are learning. Your marks may also be affected by personal issues such as homesickness. If you are finding your studies hard, you and your parents will be happy to learn that there are many services at your institution that can help, such as academic support and counselling services.
- Manage your own expectations: Be careful that your own expectations are not too high. If you promise that you will get top marks in every class, it’s easy for your parents to begin to think the same way. If you are studying at tertiary level for the first time, remember that your subjects will be very different to what you studied in high school. Even if you have studied before, keep in mind that the teaching and learning style at Australian institutions is usually self-directed and may be different to what you were used to in your home country.