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Dear Annie

Finding friends on campus a challenge

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: This is for “Concerned Mom” whose daughter was having trouble making new friends in college during COVID-19.

The first point of contact for the student is her academic adviser. “Trouble making friends” is a good reason for a visit. Most universities now have “cohort courses” for first-year students with the intended purpose of establishing community among freshmen and transfers. Often, there is a separate such course for each major program.

Colleges also have clubs and other extracurricular organizations — some of which may still be active during the pandemic. Finally, I’ve noticed that students often set up group chats on platforms like Snapchat to talk about specific courses. “Concerned Mom’s” daughter can make sturdy, lasting friends pretty fast by giving help to another student, or receiving help from another. — Professor Who Cares

Dear Professor: Thank you for reminding us how often opportunities for connection and friendship are available; we just need to ask. It’s amazing to hear how resilient college students have been during this unprecedented time.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “D.K.,” who complained about Al-Anon. Al-Anon is often described as a selfish program. Those who constantly are thinking about their alcoholic loved ones may be at a loss when they are encouraged to start thinking about themselves.

I, for one, thought plenty about myself and, like many others, came to Al-Anon to learn how to fix the alcoholic so I could get back to my normal life.

I, too, had ideas of how my meetings should change. Yet, I knew Al-Anon was a decades-old program that worked for many others.

I read every program-approved book and pamphlet. I learned the slogans and worked the steps. I learn to give service to others. Sometimes by simply being silent in meetings. I learned about my part in relationships. I learned how to love my God, myself and my fellow man and how to live with them.

Al-Anon groups will tell you straight out: “We aren’t perfect. The welcome we gave you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you’ll discover that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way. The way we already love you.” — A Grateful Al-Anon Member

Dear Grateful: Thank you for sharing your experience and appreciation for this program. It’s great to know how much support you’ve received and contributed to the Al-Anon community.

Dear Annie: I’m not writing with a warning. My hubby had his annual sinus cough that hung on with a slight fever this summer. He tried to see our doctor and had to get a COVID-19 test. It was negative. A week passed while we waited for the results, and they wanted another test and another X-ray. Three weeks later, my husband was sick with a fever. He went to the appointment and was told to go to the emergency room. He was dead within a week from pneumonia and toxic shock.

If they had seen him or sent him to the ER sooner, I might not be wondering what I should have done. I wasn’t allowed to go into the hospital, so he was all alone. Please tell the world not to wait for medical issues. — Missing My Husband

Dear Missing: I am so sorry for your loss. Your advice to seek immediate medical attention, especially if you have a preexisting condition, is on point. This is a difficult time, and not being able to be with a loved one who dies adds a layer of pain that, frankly, no person should endure. Let loved ones support you, and consider finding a grief support group to help you process your loss.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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