It sounds to me like your folks just want to make sure that you are investing your time and their money wisely as you think about your future. I know it’s hard to hear that. (It really is hard for people to hear each other when they are arguing.) But it does look like they are trying their best to guide you into a profession that will give you enough financial reward that you will be able to take care of yourself. We can’t fault them for that.
But it does look to me like everyone is getting way ahead of themselves. Here’s the truth. Very, very few kids your age know exactly what they want to do. That’s why most colleges expose you to many different kinds of courses for the first two years. They want you to see the whole menu before you choose. Most kids don’t declare a major until Junior year. The majority of students who do declare a major before then end up changing their minds. Furthermore, the world is rapidly changing. New professions are getting invented every year. Old standbys are disappearing. We really can’t predict now what you might find fascinating three years from now and what career paths may or may not be possible. Choose a good liberal arts college, get exposure to lots of new and interesting fields, and the question of what you should major in will probably get answered all by itself.
Meanwhile, stop stressing. You are smart enough to get into lots of colleges. Please don’t make yourself crazy about choosing a school. Yes, going through the process adds a whole layer of extra stuff on an already busy life. But millions of kids (and their parents) do it every year. Millions of guidance offices help their students get through it all. And most kids get into one of the schools they picked. You will too.
To answer your specific questions about psychology: I love what I do. I find people endlessly interesting and I never get sick of listening to people’s problems (and I’ve been doing it for 35 years!). Yes, it is harder to make a living with only a Bachelors degree but there are worse things than having to go to graduate school. I for one loved it. Most people I know work for a few years in the field to get some experience and then get a Masters degree while working part time. Specialties like Special Education, autistic or intellectually disabled children, or geriatrics are some of the careers that are promising right now. If you are truly interested in nursing, you could consider specializing in psychiatric nursing. That would be a blend of both areas of interest. People don’t make a million dollars a year working in human services, it’s true. But you can make a very reasonable living if you develop particular areas of expertise and if you develop some management skills.
I wish you well.
P.S. I’ve written a number of articles about going to college for Psychcentral.com in the past. You might want to take a look in our library at:
“Keeping the College Application Process Sane.”
“The Summer Before College.”
“Are You Ready for College?”