DEAR ABBY: I recently began attending a private high school in Manhattan on scholarship. The commute can take two hours -- or more -- each way. In the beginning, I was willing to accept the challenge and make it work. However, as the long days continue, I'm wondering if it's worth it.
I don't seem to relate to any of my classmates and I'm not sure this school is right for me. Also, my relationship with my family has gotten worse since I started. I come home too tired to talk with them, and discussions about supplies usually result in fights ending in tears.
I don't think my parents are proud of me. Instead of encouragement and support, I am being yelled at for feeling the way I do. I know this school will create a bright future for me, but can it only come at the expense of the relationship with my family and my happiness? I go to school upset and miserable every day. Should I drop out? Or should I exchange happiness in my life now for success in the future? Please help. -- CONFUZZLED IN NEW YORK
DEAR CONFUZZLED: I'm not sure the answer is "either/or." Let me take your concerns one at a time.
Obviously the challenges brought about by this new school have required certain lifestyle changes for you. Perhaps a few more could be beneficial. Specifically, if the commute to and from school is too tiring, have you considered taking a 45-minute nap when you return home? Many people find that a nap renews their energy. Also, the trip could provide you with valuable study time. If that isn't feasible, then perhaps you and your family could agree that weeknights aren't a workable time for the level of communication you would like, and make an extra effort to be together on weekends.
You say that discussions about school supplies are so stressful they end in fights and tears. Is it possible that there is a special fund at school to help scholarship students with school supplies? The way to find out would be to schedule a session with your counselor and ask. And while you're at it, ask if there's a way for all the scholarship students to meet and get to know each other. If they feel as isolated as you do -- and they may -- perhaps you could form a support group.
The only reason to drop out and forgo an opportunity like the one you have been given is if you have exhausted every other option. You should not have to exchange happiness for success, but happiness can be fleeting and the lessons you are learning at this school are not all inside the classroom.