Choosing a major to study is already a pretty confusing process - so imagine what it's like for someone who grew up in an Arab household. Societal pressure and family expectations make the decision all the more challenging.
Balancing your personal interests and aspirations with your parents' expectations may seem out of reach, especially since they are often poorly acquainted with the modern job market. So, they go above and beyond to convince you to play it safe and seek careers that are traditionally associated with prestige and financial security.
Your Arab mama will likely take it upon herself to make that happen, persuading you to choose one of the following majors:
1. First and foremost, medicine
Ah, medicine ... the superior major, at least for Arab parents. Every Arab mom fantasizes about the day she gets to say "My son/daughter is a doctor (read: daktor)" in every remotely relevant conversation. To fulfill that dream, she puts in her best effort to convince you to study medicine, regardless of your own interests and preferences.
Studying medicine means you don't only become your mom's favorite, but also the go-to medical reference for your entire family and all your acquaintances, starting as early as your freshman year at university.
2-3. Not medicine? Okay then, dentistry or pharmacy
You have her blessing as long as she gets to call you a daktor/a... Well, unless you go for psychology or nutrition; Arab moms aren't big fans of those majors. Yup, the struggle to satisfy Arab parents is real.
4. Engineering isn't so bad either
Becoming an engineer means your mama will never stop talking about how smart you are, flaunting your profession in front of other aunties at every opportunity.
5. Law works well too
Yet another field of work associated with social status and high income, studying law and becoming a judge/lawyer guarantees you a proud mama. But, don't get into human rights ... that field ma bita3me khebez (doesn't pay well), according to your parents.
6. You can go for business, but proceed with caution
If your parents want you to take over the family business, they will convince you to study business administration. All hell would break loose if you decide you're not interested in that field of work and want to start your own thing instead.
7. Governmental positions are OK too
With the stability and benefits that accompany governmental jobs, your Arab mom might encourage you to seek that field of work.
Sorry mama, but there are plenty more options there
The job market has changed so much in the past decade, so not everyone aspires to be a doctor or engineer anymore. While there is definitely no problem in seeking one of the majors above if they feel like a good fit, there are plenty of viable career options besides the traditional ones.
Over the years, plenty of Arab artists, athletes, innovators, and entrepreneurs have proven that success is not limited to certain fields of work. Instead, it requires dreaming big, thinking outside the box, challenging the norm, and of course, having a great deal of passion and dedication. Having a solid support system, particularly the support of one's parents, is definitely a major boost.
Explore modern career paths with Dreamers
STEP Group's Dreamers is a platform dedicated to empowering children to become the innovators of the future.
Among the platform's first initiatives is a summer camp that will be held in Dubai later this month. Dreamers Camp welcomes kids aged 8 to 18 years to gain hands-on knowledge about future industries and technology, space exploration, along with the foundations of entrepreneurship.
*Disclaimer: Dreamers is a brand owned by STEP Group, the parent company of StepFeed.