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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Reluctant to Disappoint Mom With a Change of Plan

DEAR ABBY: I am a 16-year-old girl who is starting to seriously consider colleges and plan for the future. I found an amazing school close to home that I'd love to attend -- but there's a problem.

Two years ago, after much thought and consideration, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. My mother completely supported my choice and was more than a little happy about it.

I recently accepted a position as a tutor, and now I realize that I love being able to teach children and help them with their studies. The college I want to attend is a teaching college, not a school for premed studies.

I am confident in my decision to become a teacher, but I'm afraid my mother will be disappointed and upset that I no longer want to be a doctor. How can I tell her that my dreams have changed? -- E.D. NOT M.D. IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR E.D.: This is something that should be discussed with your guidance counselor at school. You set your goal of obtaining a medical degree when you were only 14. While your aspirations of becoming a teacher are admirable, it is possible that once you reach college and are exposed to a broader range of intellectual opportunities your goal may change again. This is why many college students declare their major upon completing their sophomore year.

As to talking about this to your mother, remember that careers in medicine and education have some things in common -- among them dedication and determination. So start practicing now.

DEAR ABBY: My best friend and I are talented artists. She receives a lot of attention for her work. She sells whenever she wants to, shows her work in New York and teaches at a prestigious school.

I have many successes in my career, but I have had to work very hard for everything. She hasn't. I am beginning to resent it because I'm growing exhausted from trying to accomplish my dreams.

I have also noticed that on occasions when I have asked my friend for help, she hasn't followed through. I am starting to conclude that she doesn't respect me. I must admit that the amount of attention she gets for her work frosts me.

Is there a chance to save this friendship, or should we part ways? Or, am I too selfish and jealous? -- TALENTED ARTIST IN CANADA

DEAR TALENTED ARTIST: Let me put it this way -- unless you are able to find it within yourself to forgive your friend for her success, then I doubt your friendship will continue much further.

DEAR ABBY: My birthday is in two months, and it's a "big" one. As of today, two people -- a close friend and my mother -- felt the need to tell me that "someone" has planned a surprise birthday party for me.

I am disgusted that they spoiled the surprise. Why would someone want to take the joy out of something that way? I will do my best to act surprised, but it won't be the same.

Abby, please tell your readers they are doing a disservice by doing this. It is not, in my opinion, the behavior of a true friend. -- BIRTHDAY GIRL-TO-BE IN GEORGIA

DEAR BIRTHDAY GIRL-TO-BE: I'll pass along your message, but as your experience shows -- some people just CAN'T keep a secret. Just as you wouldn't put water into a pitcher that leaks, it's a mistake to confide your secrets in the Town Crier. If there is an upside to this, it's that you know there are two of them in your life and who they are. Mum's the word!

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)