Please urge "Depressed About the Future" to complete her education.
I, too, was a younger child (fourth out of five) and only the second of 27 grandchildren to go to college.
My mother ordered me not to talk about college around my siblings, and my brother said I was a snob for wanting a better education. I am so glad I didn't listen to them.
Both of my parents told me how proud they were of me when I received my first degree.
And as adults, one sister has earned two B.A.s, and another sister and brother have taken many college classes.
The brother who called me a snob is now in college at age 54. He still teases me about being "Susie Co-ed," but he loves college and regrets not having gone sooner.
B.S., M.S., from Ohio
I applaud your determination and perseverance -- and that's no B.S.
Readers all over the country have written to offer advice and emotional support.
Read on for some samples:
When I was 15 I announced at the dinner table that I was going to college.
My parents said I should forget it because they didn't have the money. I said, "If I want to go to college, I'll find a way." And I did!
It was the most empowering thing I have ever done.
Please tell "Depressed" that no dream is too big. I am now a trained professional with a graduate degree.
Did It in Marietta, Ga.
My husband, Phil, and I were the first in our families to receive university degrees.
We did it together, living in a one-room apartment near campus living on $90 a month from Phil's G.I. Bill.
We ate lots of macaroni and cheese, attended a church within walking distance (we had no car), and graduated in three years with bachelor of science degrees.
Later, we earned M.A.E. degrees by going to the university on Friday and Saturday nights. (I graduated with honors.)
There is nothing as costly as NOT getting an education.
The best advice I can offer from the perspective of my own education, and that of the hundreds of college students I have taught, is this:
1. Believe in yourself and do your best.
2. Be enthusiastic and make friends.
3. Wring from your college experience every opportunity to learn the basics in your chosen field, and attend the elective seminars -- the all-campus lectures -- to broaden your horizons.
4. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
5. Recognize learning as an introduction to learning more on your own.
6. You owe it to yourself, your children, your employer and your community to GO FOR IT!
M. Ballou, Ph.D., Ed.D.
of University Women
You have my respect and admiration.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to know how many thousands of young people your letter has inspired today?
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate