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Help me convince my parents?

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  • Help me convince my parents?

    I'm sure that you are all getting sick of seeing my posts about working students and parents and blah blah blah. I have a favor to ask you. I really want to work with Phyllis Dawson in 2014 as a working student. I think it would be really good for me to see how hard and rough this industry is. It will teach me hard work and help me to decide if I have what it takes to work in this business. My parents, however, seem to think that I will ditch their plan of college for me and that I will go off into this world with no back up plan. Of course I won't! I would be afraid to. I intend to go to college. My plan is, if I were to get in to her program, I would graduate high school in 2014, work with Phyllis for a year, come home and go to college. Is that a realistic plan, or am I going crazy? I understand their concern: they have no idea who Phyllis Dawson is, I will be in another state and I won't live with them again for a year. Anyway, I am currently writing them a letter, trying to explain how badly I want this. I can't talk to them without fighting. My mom is somewhat on board, but not my dad. So can you please suggest what I should tell my parents? Anything that will make them feel more secure and understand how this can help me grow as a rider and a person? I will be putting this all in the letter. Thank you so much for putting up with me!

  • #2
    Maybe spend more than ONE DAY researching this position and you might come across as having thought things through a little more carefully?

    Unless I'm mistaken, you have only just discovered this option, haven't met her, haven't been to her farm yet, yes?

    Start at the beginning. Do your homework. Show your parents that you're weighing this decision carefully and not leaping at the first thing that seems to fit.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment


    • #3
      OP, if I remember correctly, you're still a high school sophomore and are considering a WS position after graduation in 2015. I don't think you really need to lobby your parents on this just yet. While I can understand wanting to lock them in with a promise, your age (and their likely view of you as their little girl) is not working in your favor at this point. In fairness to them, you aren't the person at fifteenish that you'll be at eighteenish. You seem like a young woman who, compared to many your age, has her head screwed on straight. What even fewer teens seem to have, though, is patience.

      I'd table the Phyllis discussion for now. No decisions will be made on 2015 working students for quite some time. Keep doing well in school, and keep working hard at the barn. Don't fight battles with your parents that don't need to be fought yet. Most of my high school students begin looking at (visiting) colleges in earnest late in their junior year. When you start visiting schools as a junior, remind you parents that you'd also like to apply with Phyllis in the fall of 2014. You'll give college applications their due attention, and then, if accepted with Phyllis, can discuss the merits of deferring your college enrollment for a year for that purpose. Given your age and your parents' reluctance, this will probably include a visit to her farm. When your parents see that you've been accepted to more than one respectable college and that you're submitting paperwork attesting to your intention to enroll after a year's deferment, they might view your plan as a bit more promising.

      Also, think hard about which majors will be useful both in and our of horses. It'll be useful for your parents to see that you're choosing a path of study that could enrich your career as an equine professional, but could also form the basis of a healthy career outside the industry, too (that would subsidize your horsey pursuits).

      Good luck!
      "With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come" (Shakespeare).

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        Maybe spend more than ONE DAY researching this position and you might come across as having thought things through a little more carefully?

        Unless I'm mistaken, you have only just discovered this option, haven't met her, haven't been to her farm yet, yes?

        Start at the beginning. Do your homework. Show your parents that you're weighing this decision carefully and not leaping at the first thing that seems to fit.
        Okay, thank you. I have been looking into this for about a week. Haha, not much longer than a day. I have spent a lot of time looking into different W.S positions. But I do know that I have to think more about it and research more as well. No, I haven't met Phyllis yet, nor been to her place. That all comes later, if I am serious about applying. But I understand, thank you.

        Comment


        • #5
          When your parents see that you've been accepted to more than one respectable college and that you're submitting paperwork attesting to your intention to enroll after a year's deferment, they might view your plan as a bit more promising.
          Very good idea! I also think (and have mentioned) that you sound very "together" for your age, but most cranky old adults (and that includes parents) don't value adolescent dreams nearly as much as they do future prospects that are tangible, predictable, and likely to result in future success. Remember that moms and dads want "the best" for their kids and it is not universal that the passions of a teenager are the same as the passions of a young adult. If they're not horsey, they may not "get it" that for most of us, horses are a permanent affliction.

          Take your grades as seriously as you take your horses. Crush the SAT or ACTs, do some AP courses--make it obvious that your education is important to you and that you can handle "above and beyond". Apply to colleges and see if a school will give you a deferred acceptance so your parents know you're serious about your future after your WS position. Ultimately when you're 18 your decisions are 100% your own, but if you expect financial support from mom and dad, they get a vote in what you do with your life to some degree.
          Click here before you buy.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by lmlacross View Post
            OP, if I remember correctly, you're still a high school sophomore and are considering a WS position after graduation in 2015. I don't think you really need to lobby your parents on this just yet. While I can understand wanting to lock them in with a promise, your age (and their likely view of you as their little girl) is not working in your favor at this point. In fairness to them, you aren't the person at fifteenish that you'll be at eighteenish. You seem like a young woman who, compared to many your age, has her head screwed on straight. What even fewer teens seem to have, though, is patience.

            I'd table the Phyllis discussion for now. No decisions will be made on 2015 working students for quite some time. Keep doing well in school, and keep working hard at the barn. Don't fight battles with your parents that don't need to be fought yet. Most of my high school students begin looking at (visiting) colleges in earnest late in their junior year. When you start visiting schools as a junior, remind you parents that you'd also like to apply with Phyllis in the fall of 2014. You'll give college applications their due attention, and then, if accepted with Phyllis, can discuss the merits of deferring your college enrollment for a year for that purpose. Given your age and your parents' reluctance, this will probably include a visit to her farm. When your parents see that you've been accepted to more than one respectable college and that you're submitting paperwork attesting to your intention to enroll after a year's deferment, they might view your plan as a bit more promising.

            Also, think hard about which majors will be useful both in and our of horses. It'll be useful for your parents to see that you're choosing a path of study that could enrich your career as an equine professional, but could also form the basis of a healthy career outside the industry, too (that would subsidize your horsey pursuits).

            Good luck!
            You have the wrong OP, but I know who you are talking about. I am Jessica, a 17 year old junior in high school, I graduate in 2014. I still have a while until I even need to schedule an interview for a position, and I know that I'm rushing. I just feel like they will never let me do this until I do something to show them that I am 100% serious and want this. I guess a good way to do that would be to do well in school, work hard at the home and the barn, and continue to write this letter, lol. And thanks for the info about the majors. I plan (so far) to take business major and something in English/journalism...I love to write and that could be a good job to fall back on if I need it. But thanks for the help!

            Comment


            • #7
              You might also want to consider researching the benefits of taking a gap year between high school and college. Gap years are much more common in Europe, and there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence (and maybe some real research) that supports the idea that you'll be much better prepared for college when you spend a year away from your studies.

              I can personally attest to the benefits of taking a year off--I think my time away from school really helped me when I started college.

              Comment


              • #8
                I knew a young girl who rode at the barn where I used to board--an incredibly driven and together young woman--she applied for and got a WS position with none other than Leslie Law, went over to England and spent a year busting her butt and learning a ton, with perks like galloping his **** horses and grooming at Badminton! She had the complete trust of her parents to go and do this because she had shown herself to be totally committed to everything she did and IIRC she had a spot at the college of her choice waiting for her.

                Don't mistake natural parental concern and worry for their not wanting you to follow your dream.
                Click here before you buy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry, HorseRider15. Between your handle and your previous thread on Phyllis' working student positions, I got your graduation year turned around in my head with another poster on the earlier thread. My advice is the same, though.

                  With regard to English majors, know what sort of writing you enjoy doing. I am an English teacher (AP Language & Comp, ENG101/102- Rhetoric), and I can tell you from experience that copy editing would make me want to gouge out my own eyes. The print journalism industry is contracting more and more by the day. Teaching jobs in English, at least in my part of the country, are hard to come by. Perhaps consider a business major with a concentration in advertising? Public relations? Figure out where the jobs are and pursue the major that will allow you to marry your interests and skills with the piece of paper the hiring managers are looking for. I loved every minute of being an English major, but I can tell you that virtually nothing I learned in my undergraduate or graduate English courses would be of any use to me had I gone into horses full-time.

                  Again, good luck.
                  "With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come" (Shakespeare).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Research working student positions carefully. Years ago, we went to look at a horse at Phyllis' barn. She was so mean to the working student that I couldn't wait to get out of there. At least my daughter immediately figured out that she never wanted to be a working student. I think Phyllis was just having a bad day, or maybe the working student had just done something really stupid. Being a working student is not always fun.

                    If you are determined to be a working student, why don't you graduate from high school a year or a semester early? Get a college acceptance that you can defer. Your parents may be happier if you have a good plan that doesn't involve losing a year.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AKB View Post
                      If you are determined to be a working student, why don't you graduate from high school a year or a semester early? Get a college acceptance that you can defer. Your parents may be happier if you have a good plan that doesn't involve losing a year.
                      This is a good idea, if you can pull it off. Another thing to consider is taking courses at your local community college while in high school for dual credit. Most community college courses are far easier than high school AP courses IMHO, and it's a lot easier to transfer community college credits than AP scores if you're on the edge score-wise on the AP exam.

                      If becoming a working student is something you really want to do after high school, it's smart of you to start making plans now. But whatever you do, tread carefully, this board is full of posters (including me!) who could tell you horror stories about our time as working students. I have no knowledge of Phyllis's program, but I do know many reputable trainers who run very un-reputable working student programs--it can be a real mine field out there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I did exactly what you're wanting to do: I took a year off before college, worked for a BNT, did the FL thing, groomed at the big events, and achieved my own goals (CCI*). I was immersed in the eventing world and high-class horsemanship. And I went to college when that year was up.

                        My parents (dad in particular) were a bit nervous about me not going to college, but deep down they had enough faith in me. It helped that the BNT promised them that I WOULD go, she would not hold me back, and when my year was up she'd be pushing me back to school. My parents were satisfied.

                        However... in my favor, I was a working student for this BNT during the summer of my junior/senior year in HS-- so I already knew exactly what I was getting into, knew that I loved it, and knew what I wanted to accomplish. I was also a straight-A honors student in high school, had a very high ACT score, and had tons of AP credit hours...I was a proven good student, disciplined, and my parents knew I'd follow through with my plans (not ditch school!).

                        I am very thankful to my parents for their support of my dreams, and for taking that leap of faith to "let their little girl go" and trust me to make it. Of course they still supported me financially, but I worked my butt off and learned a ton. I continued to work/manage the farm all through college-- NOT easy, but it was what I loved to do. That year off experience, and the years that followed, were as valuable to me as college itself...I would not be where I am today without that. I went into college, a year removed from my high school class, with a lot more maturity than the incoming class of freshmen; many were complaining about doing their own laundry, cooking their own meals, and other problems of that "first time away from home" syndrome.

                        Keep this in mind: there are VERY few WS opportunities that you can support yourself with-- almost all of them will require some outside assistance (your own savings, or parents' financial support, to cover your living expenses...food, insurance, gas, vet/farrier bills, etc), and very few ws opportunities allow enough time for an extra job to earn $$. If your parents can't support you, you'd best start working a paying job NOW and earning some money for your WS stint.

                        Show your parents you're committed by working your butt off now--both in school, and outside of school. My parents and I started thinking about WS opportunities when I was 14; I didn't actually go until I was 16 (and could drive myself), but I was working at my local boarding barn until then, and earning the best grades I could in school. If you can, try to for a shorter-term WS position in the summer before your senior year; it will at least let you know if you like it. Different trainers have different styles and different expectations. I was lucky that I "clicked" immediately with my trainer, was instantly comfortable there and loved every minute, but it doesn't always happen that way.
                        “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                        ? Albert Einstein

                        ~AJ~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I took a year off between high school and college to be a working student at a British Horse Society approved training site. Lots of people told me not to do it, that I would never end up going to college if I didn't go straight out of high school. To this day, I think that the WS position actually convinced me that college was the right thing to do. As a WS, I worked six days a week for lessons and housing, but I had no money for food, gas, etc. So on my day off, I worked at another farm so I could afford essentials. I was a WS for nine months and decided that continuing my schooling was a good idea. I didn't have as strong a desire as I thought I did to do horses for a living, although I still wanted to ride. I ended up going to a horse friendly college, getting a degree other than horses, and a job that could support my horsey habit. The year off really gave me a chance to clarify what I wanted to do with my life, without paying a huge college tuition bill while I was doing it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think what we need to do is convince YOU that it is a rare few that manage to make a living in the world of horses.

                            Most WS I know of return home quite a few pounds lighter physically because the work is hard, endless, and food costs too much to waste money on it. They do usually learn a lot. That is why they then go off to college.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most WS I know of return home quite a few pounds lighter physically because the work is hard, endless, and food costs too much to waste money on it. They do usually learn a lot. That is why they then go off to college.
                              This is not a bad thing necessarily! To learn the value of endless, grueling grunt work with little reward is not a bad exchange for a year spent at the front end of one's life. Especially if it is voluntary. There's a lot to be learned about oneself with hard toil.
                              Click here before you buy.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                I think what we need to do is convince YOU that it is a rare few that manage to make a living in the world of horses.

                                Most WS I know of return home quite a few pounds lighter physically because the work is hard, endless, and food costs too much to waste money on it. They do usually learn a lot. That is why they then go off to college.
                                You sound like my parents, haha. I understand that I will probably realize that I want an outside job instead or working in the industry. But I need to do this so that I realize how hard it will be to make a living with horses. I don't want to get a real horse job at a stable until I am sure that I will work hard for it. But thanks for your input.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  In terms of making/presenting a plan to your parents, it also can help to be a bit more general about what you want to do and hope to learn from it, vs. very specific (Phyllis Dawson 2014).

                                  Think about why you want to do a gap year as a working student. What can it teach you about the "real world" and the horse industry that will help you in college and beyond, etc.?

                                  We don't always get our first choice of colleges, WS positions, jobs, etc. so it helps to have a general idea of what you want as well as to identify specific opportunities. A plan about what you would get from a year as a WS might be more compelling to your parents than a single opportunity which may or may not work out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Gap year and working student position is a great idea. You will be more mature and ready to go to college when it is over. If not, then you know you have found your passion and should supplement your training with a degree that will help you in the horse business in the future. After being a working student, getting an equine degree will seem redundant...take business classes and psychology after all it is the people that are the customers and pay the bills.

                                    If you realize you don't want to pursue a career in horses, but still want to ride, can I recommend an engineering or computer science degree where you will actually be able to get a job when you graduate. You can even get a co-op job with the government while in school and earn money while working an easy 8-9 hour day giving you time to ride in the evenings and weekends. The co-op position pays over $20/hour. And if you decide to stay on in the job, you would have the potential to earn over $70K your first year along with fantastic benefits. You can work for DOD or NSA and ride and compete in the middle of Area 2.

                                    Engineering is no harder than any other degree. There are some really tough English, History, and Economic professors out there. Nothing nerdy about engineering unless having a job and earning decent money is nerdy. Then you can save up your money and get a really nice horse!

                                    I have one child that is gung-ho into horses and another in computer science. My horse child could make a decent living in our area as a riding instructor, but not enough to cover the costs of competing at the upper levels. I am encouraging her to follow her passion, but she spent four summers and two years as a working student before ever graduating from high school. She gets that it is hard work and will be a struggle to make a living, find insurance, and pay vet bills and farrier for her horses. I know I don't have the fortitude for that kind of life.

                                    Good luck with your future. As long as you keep moving forward and learning new things, there are no mistakes or years lost...just different forks in the rode. Life is a journey!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      But I need to do this
                                      I can see how you feel that way, but "need" is a strong word. You WANT VERY BADLY to do this. It is a huge luxury to even be able to contemplate an education, much less higher education and taking a year off to indulge even the most dearly-loved hobby. Not everyone has this kind of opportunity, even if parents are 100% on board.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        I can see how you feel that way, but "need" is a strong word. You WANT VERY BADLY to do this. It is a huge luxury to even be able to contemplate an education, much less higher education and taking a year off
                                        to indulge even the most dearly-loved hobby. Not everyone has this kind of opportunity, even if parents are 100% on board.
                                        Yes, but feel like if I don't do something like this before I get an actual job in the industry, I won't realize how rough of a life it is. I think this will be a big reality check for me. Then I will decide if I want to pursue this sport.

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