As-Salamu `Alaikum sister,
From your question, what really comes through to me is the fact that you want so many things but can’t make up your mind what to do first and how to prioritize. Unfortunately, it’s not for us to tell you which one to do as that would be inappropriate. All we can do is to help you come up with ways of prioritizing or at least provide some inputs into how you might want to go about making such decisions.
From your question, it sounds you have three main concerns in your life: 1) education and career; 2) marriage; and 3) your parents’ wishes.
You are concerned about your age and afraid that if you chose to get married now, you might not finish your studies, which would hurt your career. But if you chose to focus on education and career, you might miss the opportunity to get married and have a family. Did I get it right?
Although, there’s nothing wrong with having goals in life, as Muslims, it’s always important that we try our best to prioritize our lives around what is most pleasing to Allah based on the guidance provided to us through our religion.
As such, I think marriage is a very important part of not only an individual’s religious life, but it is an important institution for upholding the stability and continuity of the community as a whole. There is nothing that can be compared to it in terms of its central importance, both individually and socially. That is one obvious reason the Prophet (saw) mentioned that marriage is half of deen. Therefore, I think that it is important and something that should not be put off.
That being said, you can also make education and then maybe a future career a secondary priority, such that when you look for a spouse, you make it clear to him that you wish to continue your education, at least until you obtain your bachelor’s degree. I think there are a lot of reasonable brothers out there who recognize the importance of a wife wanting to pursue her education, especially in the challenging economic times we have been facing today.
Either way, I encourage you to prioritize according to what is most pleasing to Allah. Although you may not be able to see it right now, in the future you will be filled with regret for not taking advantage of an opportunity to marry and have a family. You can always go back to school and work, especially if you are living in the West, but it may be a lot more difficult to marry and have children at a later stage in life. Once that opportunity passes, you will never be able to get it back. In addition, if you can find an understanding spouse, then hopefully you can do both: get married and continue your education.
That is the best advice I can give based on the situation you have presented. Please be advised that it is only my opinion and there are others who might feel differently, of course.
May Allah help you always.
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