DEAR HARRIETTE: It doesn’t look like I’m going to graduate on time. I'm a few credits short, and my graduation is next week. I can take the classes over the summer and be finished by fall, but I will miss the ceremony and will not be able to walk across the stage with my friends. Of course, I'm sad and a little bit embarrassed. I want to avoid the ceremony altogether since I won't be able to participate in it, but I know that it's important for me to show up in support of all my friends who are graduating. I am afraid that when I get there I'm going to be really emotional and bitter. How can I put the bitterness aside and show up for my friends? -- Resentful
DEAR RESENTFUL: You must first deal with your reality. You have known for a while that you weren’t going to be able to graduate this year. You need to accept that and decide on your plan for the future. When the path forward is clear, it will make it easier to face your friends.
Putting on your friend hat, if you can muster up the courage, you should go to their graduation and the subsequent festivities. Honor them by showing up where you can. You probably won’t have to talk about yourself much. They will be excited about their big day, as will their families. Let them talk about themselves. If you are asked about your plans, be prepared to share them -- you intend to finish your final credits over the summer and ... ? Figure out what you plan to do next so that you can say it out loud.