2 February 2024

Students thinking about their college choices.

Every New Year’s Eve, the preparation of the family dinner falls to Anaëlle. On the menu last year, duck aiguillettes breaded with gingerbread and mashed sweet potatoes with white chocolate. From the Grand-Est, the 17-year-old high school student is keen on cooking: “I like the creativity, training and adrenaline of serving. »

So many reasons that encouraged him to consider leaving his private college to join a vocational high school in hospitality and catering, with a cooking option. The choice displeases his parents. Mother teacher and father bus driver, they saw her continue in the general stream, more prestigious to their taste. “They tried to discourage me by telling me I couldn’t do it,” rewinds the student in first class.

Anaelle is holding on. His parents give in, but the pill remains hard to swallow. “They lost interest in my work. In the evening, they ask my little brother how his day was and not me. It saddens me a lot,” she admits. Until then, his parents were very involved in his schooling, putting their savings into their children’s studies. “Sometimes parents project onto their children what they have failed to do. It is quite marked when they have sacrificed a lot for their studies”analyzes Shékina Rochat, doctor in psychology and researcher in the field of orientation in Switzerland.

Anaëlle’s case is not isolated. According to a study published in 2018 by the National Council for the Evaluation of the School System, a third of young people questioned said that their family advised them against a direction they had wanted. “Often, parents will say that the important thing is that their child is happy, but there are frequently things they will try to influence”continues Shekina Rochat.

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Like those of Agathe (her first name has been changed), who only considered one way for their daughter: the law. Their ambition collides with that of the principal concerned, who wants to be a journalist. “My father comes from a modest background and my mother is an immigrant. They struggled and they thought about my financial security. For them, the literary streams meant guaranteed unemployment,” says the 21-year-old.

“Choose a profession for safety”

At the price of one “trench warfare” the Bordelaise won her case: after a literary preparation and a degree in cultural studies at the University of Lille, she plans to take the competitions for journalism schools. If Agathe aspires to a job ” passion “, it is in opposition to his mother, a hospital director, who complains every evening of being “exhausted”. “Some parents refer to their children as a form of boredom at work and pass on to them the idea that they are not happy. However, at the same time, they push them to choose a profession out of security,” emphasizes Marc Loriol, sociologist of work and researcher at the CNRS.

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