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Dear Abby 2/10

Girl who was in high gear now feels stuck in park

DEAR ABBY: I'm 19 and dropped out of college in December 2005. After years of going through honors classes, I felt like I had nothing left. My brain was on cruise control. I was present but my mind wasn't. I'd go to class and feel like a shell.
    My friends and family attribute it to laziness. I felt like I didn't know what I wanted to do and was wasting my father's money being there — so I left.
    My father doesn't believe in "doing nothing." If you're not in school, you get a job. So for the past 14 months I have had a job to fill my day.
    I think I want to go back to school in August, but I also feel I'm doing it to please everyone else. Honestly, I no longer know what I want to be in life. I have no idea what I want to major in. I'm just lost. I have never dated, done drugs, drunk, partied or anything else besides go to school. And I was good at it.
    I try not to look girlie or pretty because it attracts guys' attention. But now I realize that no matter what you do, they're going to notice you. I feel like my life has to change for the sake of my emotional health. I feel purposeless.
    I have dreams of what I want out of life — a mansion, a nice car, money in the bank — but I don't necessarily have to go to college to achieve that. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I feel like I don't know who I am. I can't backpack through Europe, nor do I have the money to even travel around the United States. So my question is, how should I go about finding myself? — NEEDS HELP IN CHICAGO
    DEAR NEEDS HELP: Your first step should be to return to college. Your second step should be in the direction of the student health center to talk to someone about being screened for depression and anxiety. Although you were a good student, it appears that you had no social life. A young woman your age should not be hiding to keep from being noticed.
    Your third step should be the college's career counseling department. It is important that you learn what it is you enjoy as well as have an aptitude for. After that, I predict a lot of things in your life will fall into place.

    DEAR ABBY: I live with a close friend. Recently a person who knows us both sent out invitations to his wedding. I received one; my housemate did not. Further, there is no "and guest" indicated on my invitation.
    I feel very uncomfortable about it — and more than a little miffed. I say that if the inviter knows both adult members of a household but invites only one, then the inviter should at least communicate briefly with the one not invited, rather than make the one who was invited feel awkward. That seems like common courtesy to me. However, I have checked the etiquette resources and the issue isn't addressed even in passing. What do you think? — UNCOMFORTABLE IN NEW YORK
    DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: I have never heard of a host having to explain to someone why he or she was not included on a guest list. I am sure of one thing, however. There was a reason for the exclusion, whether it was personal or budgetary.
    An invitation is an invitation, not a command performance. Because you feel "stuck in the middle" that your housemate was not invited to the wedding, feel free to send your regrets — and if you are asked why you didn't accept, tell the person what you have told me.

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