DEAR ABBY: I am a high school senior who has been filling out applications for college. I have found a few small liberal arts colleges I'd love to attend, and I have a favorite.
My problem: My father has been out of work for quite some time. He has applied for a job at a large state college. I visited the school and don't like it because it's a huge party school. My mother has now informed me that if Dad gets the job, I'll have no choice but to go there because we would get a 70 percent discount in tuition.
I feel angry and guilty at the same time. The anger is because my parents had promised me that college would be my choice. The guilt is for not wanting my father to get this job, even though it would greatly help my family's financial situation. Dad has made the second round of the long interview process. What should I do? -- BOUND FOR COLLEGE
DEAR BOUND FOR COLLEGE: Your parents may have promised you your choice of colleges, but that was likely when your family's financial situation was much better. What you should do is, first, pray that your father gets the job he so desperately needs. Then go to the library and start exploring what financial aid or scholarships are available at the schools you'd prefer to attend.
Also, don't turn up your nose at the state college just yet. While it may have a reputation as a party school, that doesn't mean you have to participate in the festivities. If you're a serious student, you can still get an excellent education and your degree, if you're willing to keep your shoulder to the grindstone and work for it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married to my husband for 20 years. My problem is my children want me to make friends. My husband is my best friend. I don't feel the need to go on "girls' nights out" or anything else. I'm happy just to be with him.
I'm not anti-social, just content. Besides, I have seen what can happen to relationships when these kinds of outings go too far. I don't want to offend my kids because they have only my best interests at heart, but I'm tired of the pressure. How can I get my adult children to leave my personal life alone and stop trying to get me to make friends? -- HAPPY AT HOME
DEAR HAPPY: Your children may be urging you to make friends because they are aware that, statistically, women outlive their husbands. They don't want you to be completely isolated if something should happen to their father, or worse, completely dependent upon them for a social life. Frankly, I think they have a point. However, as an adult you can make your own decisions. And if yours is that you don't want to expand your circle (of two), just say it in plain English.
DEAR ABBY: From time to time you print helpful suggestions to readers in your column. Allow me to pass along a no-cost charitable contribution:
I got one of those "airline miles expiring" letters offering magazine subscriptions for the miles. Not wanting or needing any of the magazines that were listed, I had more than a dozen subscriptions sent to our local residential care facility. The residents were thrilled to receive them! -- DAVID M. IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR DAVID: What a thoughtful gesture. I'm sure my readers will appreciate your suggestion.