DEAR ABBY: I'm 19 and dropped out of college in December 2005. After years of going through honors classes, I felt like I had nothing left. My brain was on cruise control. I was present but my mind wasn't. I'd go to class and feel like a shell.
My friends and family attribute it to laziness. I felt like I didn't know what I wanted to do and was wasting my father's money being there -- so I left.
My father doesn't believe in "doing nothing." If you're not in school, you get a job. So for the past 14 months I have had a job to fill my day.
I think I want to go back to school in August, but I also feel I'm doing it to please everyone else. Honestly, I no longer know what I want to be in life. I have no idea what I want to major in. I'm just lost. I have never dated, done drugs, drunk, partied or anything else besides go to school. And I was good at it.
I try not to look girlie or pretty because it attracts guys' attention. But now I realize that no matter what you do, they're going to notice you. I feel like my life has to change for the sake of my emotional health. I feel purposeless.
I have dreams of what I want out of life -- a mansion, a nice car, money in the bank -- but I don't necessarily have to go to college to achieve that. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I feel like I don't know who I am. I can't backpack through Europe, nor do I have the money to even travel around the United States. So my question is, how should I go about finding myself? -- NEEDS HELP IN CHICAGO
DEAR NEEDS HELP: Your first step should be to return to college. Your second step should be in the direction of the student health center to talk to someone about being screened for depression and anxiety. Although you were a good student, it appears that you had no social life. A young woman your age should not be hiding to keep from being noticed.
Your third step should be the college's career counseling department. It is important that you learn what it is you enjoy as well as have an aptitude for. After that, I predict a lot of things in your life will fall into place.