Agony Auncle: I’m lying to my parents about my degree

3 mins read

Question: I’ve not told my parents what I study at uni at all, they think it’s science-based but really I study creative writing. Now graduation is on my mind and I’m thinking: do I wait until I’m on stage to tell them or do I tell them sooner? And how do I say “I’ve been lying to you for a while” without compromising the relationship? I’m considering not inviting my parents but I’m not sure how to cope without their support on such a big day in my life.

Answer: Right off the bat, I generally don’t condone lying, but honestly? It’s very impressive that you’ve managed to keep up the act for so long (I’m assuming you’re in fourth year if you’re thinking about graduating). I could never pull that off.

It’s important to consider the state of your relationship with your parents – there must be some sort of tension if you’ve been so hesitant to tell them what you’re truly studying.

You’re probably worried that they’ll be disappointed that you’re not studying science, but good parents should support you no matter what. Yes, they will most likely be upset that you lied, but this doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with them.

person holding white scroll
Image Credit: Ekrulila on

If you are genuinely concerned that your parents could do something drastic if you tell them (I’m talking about cutting you out of their life, or any sort of abusive behaviour), don’t tell them. You are under no obligation to invite them to your graduation if you don’t 100% want them there.

Perhaps there’s someone else you could invite to support you instead – siblings, friends or other family members. Lots of people won’t have their parents at graduation for a variety of reasons, so you won’t be the odd one out.

If you do feel safe telling them, I think you should do it as soon as possible. Dropping the truth on the big day could sour it for all of you if they take it badly. Much safer to tell them in advance so they have time to process it and you can explain yourself. Be as honest as you can and discuss your feelings with them.

Best of luck.

-Agony Auncle

Disclaimer: I am not a professional, just a student giving out advice for fun. I don’t claim any responsibility for the outcomes of the situations submitted to me.

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Featured Image Credit: Ciara Tait.

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Film, media and journalism student. I like writing about my inability to eat gluten.

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