Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Student-Athlete Needs a Break

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am currently working in the United Kingdom. My younger sister attends a university in the United States, and her college graduation is coming up. I really want to be there and was planning on making my attendance a surprise.

As she tells me the scheduled plans for graduation weekend, I am starting to think it may be best if I tell her I am coming. As much as I would love to see her face when I show up at the ceremony, I fear that there is too much planning that goes into the weekend, and that my showing up may cause her more stress. What do you think would be the best solution to my dilemma? -- Graduation Surprise, London

DEAR GRADUATION SURPRISE: Your instincts are on point. The last thing you want to do is add stress to your sister’s graduation experience. Chances are, she will be thrilled to know that you are coming.

What you should do is contact her right away and inform her of your intention to be there to celebrate with her on this very special weekend. Ask her if she can secure a ticket to the graduation for you and if you can participate in the various activities planned for the weekend. This is key, because often tickets are limited, and restaurants require reservations during this busy time.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)