Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Wants to Know How to Comfort Friend

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am stressed out. I am failing two of my classes, and the semester ends in a month. I have been working with my professors to get my grades up, but I can’t figure out how to master my assignments for this class. I don’t want to disappoint my family because they have sacrificed so much for me, but I’m not sure if health science is the major for me.

My mother has always wanted me to be a doctor, but I struggle in my courses. How do I tell my family that I want to change my major because it doesn’t interest me, and I am not doing well? I just want to make them proud, but I feel like I will crush their dreams for me. -- Broken Dream, Sausalito, California

DEAR BROKEN DREAM: As tough as it seems now to tell your parents what’s going on, you must. This starts with a reality check. If you do not want to be a doctor, face that fact and tell your parents. Point out that you have worked hard to fulfill their dream for you. Not only is this not what you want for your life, but you aren’t good at the work required to get there.

Think about what you want to do with your life. Talk to an adviser to get input on how to change your major to a subject more fitting for your personality and interests. While your parents may initially be disappointed, they will rally behind you if you prove to them that you can survive and thrive in school as you prepare to become independent.

(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.)