It’s a fact of life – things don’t always go according to plan. Whether it's a recent change of preference, or you’ve nurtured an alternative career longing for years – how do you convince your family to get on board when your career train has changed course?

Follow these five tips to get your loved ones to understand – and really support – your decisions.

1. Inform yourself first

Research the types of careers you will have at the end of your study pathway and discover what motivates you. Is it job satisfaction, the challenge, or purely economic?

Investigate career outcomes, course duration and future study through these channels:

Picture yourself in your dream profession and when it’s time to talk, you’ll be more confident to settle any concerns your family has.

It’s worth remembering that their concern might stem from misinformation or lack of understanding, so take the emotion out of it, no matter how passionately you feel.

Do your research and be prepared for any question.

2. Get a mentor

A mentor is someone who can build your confidence, connect you with people and guide you towards wise decisions. It’s typically an older – or professionally experienced – person, who isn't part of your immediate family.

If you don’t have someone in mind yet, a great place to start is by speaking to a teacher or career practitioner, a lecturer or family friend.

A mentor will be a positive influence who can help you with communication techniques and networking skills. VU also has student mentors, so you'll have the ultimate study-buddies on campus.

A mentor can help support you in your study journey.

3. Be prepared to support yourself

Those who care about you don't want to see you fail – but backing yourself emotionally, and possibly financially, is crucial. Depending on your family’s circumstances, you may need to get a part-time job while you’re studying.

We’re the lucky country for so many reasons – one being our access to world-class tertiary and higher education (that you don’t have to pay for up-front). If you’re an Australian citizen, you can get a HECS-HELP loan and pay back higher education fees when you start earning the nominated amount.

If you’re studying at TAFE, there are also many free TAFE courses you can access and begin your dream career – or pathway into a higher education degree.

VU’s Block Model and VU Polytechnic’s interactive e-learning model are structured to give you time for a life outside of your studies - so you can work to support yourself.

4. Show your strengths

Shar your new skills or passion with your family in ways in which you all benefit.

For instance – if you’re learning to become a chef, imagine their delight when you prepare them a gourmet meal! If you’re planning to study writing or another creative course, write them a story or design a piece of art they would cherish. Or if law’s your passion? Well – you should be great at arguing your point already so you don’t need point 4 at all!

Either way, you're giving them a valuable insight into your future and how happy and fulfilled it is going to make you.

Share your passion and new skills.

5. Go for it!

Prove to everyone – but mostly, yourself – that your future is bright and you’ll get there! This is your chance to put in the effort and use all the resources available to you, including support services, mentors and friends.

Remember, even if the road ahead has a few bumps, you’ll never grow without taking risks along the way.

Prove it to yourself that you can achieve your goals!

How to find out more about your options

Chat to an expert and we’ll help you create - and achieve - your goals. We have course pathways into every one of our degrees, so no matter your results or your background, you can pursue your dream career. If it helps them to hear it from an expert, bring a family member along with you.

If you’re planning to have a break, did you know you can apply to VU in Block 3 and catch up to your classmates by the start of 2021?

What is the VU Block Model?

VU's award-winning Block Model has transformed education in Australia, putting you at the centre of the learning experience. You'll study one unit at a time in four-week blocks, rather than juggling several at once - so you're more focused and less stressed. Classes are smaller and teachers are more available to provide one-on-one support, while you get to know your classmates better. And with a priority on providing practical skills for the workforce, you'll have advantage of real-world experience before you graduate.

Chat to the experts - bring your folks if it helps!