Dear Miss Emily:

Okay, I have just finished university, I didn't get the mark I wanted, but a 2.2 is better than nothing or that's what I'm being told. My degree was in history and I have no idea what to do now. I lack confidence in my abilities, I was going to go into teaching, but I don't know if I could hack it. I think one of the reasons is that I have been in an unhealthy relationship where I feel trapped and my confidence has been knocked. I have options to leave, but it would be unhealthy in that environment also, though no one would be financially dependent on me. The only drawback with that scenario is that I think my boyfriend might harass me to come back.He says he loves me and I don't think I love him anymore, and I need a clean breakup -- but I don't think this will happen, and it would lead to him feeling like I betrayed him. I want to have my freedom, and being able to stand on my own two feet, but I feel so lost. With my financial situation not the best and losing out on a first class degree, I am not sure what to do. Do I leave my boyfriend to move back with my parents even though my brother lives there, is mentally unstable and is the reason I left in the first place, and try to get a job, or onto a course -- or do I stay with my boyfriend of nearly 6 years, try to figure out what to do, whilst he depends upon me financially and hope for the best. It seems like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I can't see myself happy in either situation.

-------------------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------------

Question: Who is in charge of your life? If the answer is "You" then you have choices. If the answer is "My boyfriend and everyone else in my life" then stay put, let others control your life, but don't complain when it doesn't turn out the way you want -- but it will only turn out the way others want it. I can't believe, if you were to be completely honest with yourself, that you staying with your boyfriend, or going home to your parents with an unstable brother living in the house are your only options. Yes, you didn't make the grade you wanted at university but, because you didn't, that should not preclude you from finding something in your field that would be fulfilling. Teaching may not be a long-term answer to your career ambitions, but saying you can't hack it is deciding you can't do it before you even try it! Teaching can be an incredibly rewarding experience,and, if it were to lose its luster, you could shift careers, then. But telling me that your hands are tied  because you don't want your boyfriend to feel betrayed is a weak argument. He is responsible for his life and you, yours. Frankly, I think its an excuse for not taking control of your life. Now, that said, I know how hard it is to do that sometimes. We get trapped in circumstances we don't feel we can control. But again, as long as you let these circumstances control you, frankly, you'll never be happy or satisfied in your life. There are many people who go to their graves with regrets. But you have the education, the smarts, and a lot going for you if you take charge of your life and forgo the excuses that hold you back. Don't be one of those who have nothing but regrets. You don't have to be, but you need to understand that and make the changes necessary to succeed.