Scholarship student wonders if school is worth all the pain

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.


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.

DEAR ABBY: My wife eats cookies and crackers in bed. When I ask her not to, she tells me it's her bed too, and says I can't tell her what to do. In the meantime, I have to sleep amid the crumbs.

Am I being bossy or is she being inconsiderate? If I'm bossy, please help me understand. If she's inconsiderate, how do I make her understand?


DEAR HUSBAND: You are not being bossy. Your wife is being stubborn and inconsiderate. You cannot make her "understand" if she refuses to. So, if you love her, either brush the crumbs back to her side of the bed or invest in a hand vacuum.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married three times. The first time we were both too young. My second marriage was a stupid mistake. Now I have a wonderful husband, but I feel like something is missing in our relationship.

The biggest problem we seem to have is sex. He is a normal male who wants to make love to his wife. Then there is me, never wanting sex. There's a six-year age difference between us &

he's younger.

I had a hysterectomy seven years ago. Since then, my doctor and I have been working together to get me back in the groove. Nothing has worked. It has driven a wedge into our marriage.

I turned to my girlfriend for advice and comfort through all of this arguing. Our friendship has grown, and I now find myself involved in a passionate sexual relationship with her. My husband has no idea about this. Have I just totally complicated my life, or have I found what has been missing?


DEAR CONFUSED: If you're honest with yourself, I think you already know the answer to that question. Your friendship with your girlfriend did not start out as sexual, but rather evolved from a deep emotional connection. Look at the bright side. At least you finally understand what has been missing.

DEAR ABBY: I manage a small professional firm. It's a family-operated business, and one of my relatives, "Suzy," helps out by ordering our office supplies.

Suzy and I haven't had the best relationship in the past, but things have been good for the last few years.

For reasons unknown to me, Suzy began ordering microwave popcorn as an "office supply." Of course, the employees think this is wonderful. However, I am a little bothered &

not only by the fact that she has unilaterally decided that food products are "office supplies" (we're a law firm) but because I feel popcorn is very unprofessional food. The minute anyone walks into the office, the smell of popcorn wafts by. To me, this does not project a professional image to clients.

I feel I need to do something about this, but I know for certain that coming from me, this will offend Suzy given our history. She doesn't actually work in the office and has no understanding of office etiquette. Am I overreacting to the popcorn smell? Or is this truly unprofessional? I need a second opinion before I create any conflict. (By the way, I'm willing to offer some other treat in lieu of popcorn.)


DEAR BELIEVES IN DECORUM: If you would be willing to substitute some other treat and call it an "office supply," your problem isn't the category the popcorn was placed in. It's with Suzy, for not having asked you first if it was permissible.

Many larger law firms than yours allow employees to snack on microwave popcorn, and it does not offend their clientele. (It may offend the neighbors if it's left in the microwave too long and the smoke alarms go off, however.) I doubt the clientele think twice about it &

as long as they're offered a share.

Unless you want to be the most unpopular person in the office, my advice is to let this go. Only if your bosses complain should you make an issue of it.

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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