Dear Harlan: How do I deal with the constant disappointment of life? I’m in college, and I am struggling to keep my head above water financially. My love life is virtually nonexistent. My mom works incredibly hard to take care of my family, but my dad has never been part of my life. I am barely passing my classes, and have the urge every single day to give up and work full-time to help my family. Every time I put my faith in someone or something, I end up feeling disappointed. I’m 19 years old and am having a hard time facing all the disappointment. What can I do to find hope when I’m constantly hurt? — Losing Hope
Dear Losing Hope: The cruelest part of your journey is that you are so close to making it. I can see it. I know you can’t, but you are so close to getting where you want to go. I know it’s true because I meet people like you all the time. I meet them in college. I meet them in their professional lives. I meet them later in life. You are a testament to what it takes to get somewhere better. The only thing missing in your life is the right person to remind you. You need someone in your corner who has walked other students down this road. I met one of these people the other day. She works in a program called TRiO (TRiO is a program that supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds). This woman has spent her entire life helping and supporting students and providing them with resources. She’s helped countless students overcome enormous obstacles, even when they were close to losing hope. It just takes one of these people in your corner. Find your person. It could be a professor, or it could be someone in a volunteer group or organization (check out the board of directors). This person might be in a leadership role on campus. He or she could be working in a business that inspires you. When you find this person, ask about his or her journey and the time he or she almost lost hope. What you’ll find is that everyone has been where you are today. It’s part of the journey. You’re so close. If you don’t believe me, ask your person. Thank you for your letter.