Dear Rex: Please help us. Our only son is terribly distraught and nothing we say or do seems to help. Ronnie has dreamed his whole life of attending Harvard. He's worked terribly hard on maintaining a straight A average, passing up, for the most part, the social, fun side of high school. We've long been concerned as to how he might take it if he didn't achieve this goal. Still, it was clearly important to him and we tried to be supportive, letting him choose his own path. His hard work certainly paid off, as he never received anything other than an A on any report card, going all the way back to first grade. But the day he took his SAT exam, he was so nervous, he ate three bowls of Frosted Mini-Wheats, instead of his usual dry toast and buttermilk, and the sugar seems to have played havoc with his system. He was jittery throughout the test and found it difficult to concentrate. His score was still excellent, one most students would be thrilled to have, but it was five points too low to make the cut at Harvard. Unfortunately, he hadn't even applied to any other schools, so intent was he upon attending Harvard, so now he's left with no choice but to attend community college. He won't even leave his room, Rex, and our hearts are breaking along with his. What shall we do? -- Heart-broken in Houston .
Dear Heartbroken: Your letter brings back many painful memories for me. When I was just about Ronnie's age, I too had a chosen path. I wanted very much to help people and planned to attend the Acme Guide Dog School. You can imagine my dismay when I learned that my mixed parentage disqualified me from consideration. I was a wreck, quite frankly, but eventually went to obtain a journalism degree at the state university, which led, eventually, to my launching this column. So in the end, I was able to devote my life to helping others. Give Ronnie a little time to heal, emotionally, and there's no telling what doors might open for him.
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