Ask Our Counsellor

Phyllis FariasDear Madam,

I completed my engineering (EEE) in June 2008. I had been given a chance to get into a company and was assured of a placement if I performed well in their paid training.

Looking at the circumstances, I agreed and had to shell out Rs 14,000 for the training, but I am still on hold. In this past year, I did try other companies, but to no avail. So I decided in December that getting better qualified is good as of now. So I have applied for M Tech.

Now this is only for you, so please keep it confidential and reply only to me.

I have always dreamt of doing something on my own – doing something big. But I have no idea in which field. Now, hopefully in the next couple of years I will get an idea by looking at the world in a different perspective. My other dream is to provide education to those who cannot afford it. God willing may be after working for about 25 – 30 years (or much less than that) I would like to open a school. I would like to know from you, what are the small but important steps to take as of now in order to achieve my dream.

Dear SK,
First, I answer questions only through the newspaper column. However, I take care to protect the identity of the person. The column is meant to help the person who has written the question and other readers who maybe in a similar situation.

Second, the first half of your question does not need an answer. You come across as a positive person, looking ahead rather than worrying and feeling upset and depressed that you have not been placed as yet.

Keeping that attribute of yours in mind, I believe that you can dream big. The only problem is that you have no idea what you want to do and that can be dangerous. For you may remain at the ‘dream’ stage of doing something big.

Here is something for you to think about and work on. I am borrowing this from Sean Covey’s book – The 7 Habits of highly effective Teens.

At this time, your life is on the ‘pause button’. Now open up your toolbox (the one that you were born with) and use your four human tools to help you decide what to do.

These tools are –
* Self-Awareness – introspect and write down your strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes, interests, thoughts and actions.
* Conscience – listen to your inner voice.
* Imagination and creativity – look at the possibilities you have before you and dare to think differently.
* Will power – have the determination and power to make your choice.
Knowing yourself will guide you to areas you are strong in. Your conscience will tell you if it is right and good. Your imagination and creativity will help you to develop the plan of action. And will power will see the plan through any ups and downs.

As for starting a school for those who cannot afford it. That is a great idea! And you know something; if you are passionate about it, you will make it happen.

Dear Madam,
I am a 15-year-old girl. I finished my class 9 in an ICSE school. I scored 74 per cent in my final exam and want to score above 85 per cent or even 90 per cent in my coming board exam. I am nervous about my class 10 exams and want to do really well in them.

My parents have told me that my problem is television and that I have the capacity to do well but I don’t work enough. About three years back, I had done badly in my exams and later I realised that I do my studies at the last minute. Though I have tried studying a bit early I still think that I start studying a bit late. Sometimes I even study two days before the exam (not for finals). I think I am too lazy to start my studies early. At the end of the day, I think that from tomorrow I will start studying seriously but the next day it’s the same thing. And when I realise the exams are nearing, I then start studying. My parents also tell me that if I scored about 70 per cent by studying the day before then I would do much better if I had started studying much earlier. And I do agree with what they say. I do know my problems but do not know how to overcome them. I really want to do well in class 10 and know that I will. Please help me to overcome these problems and a few tips that would help me to study and remember better. Thank you.

Dear R,
Please consider the following question very seriously – Are you studying to acquire knowledge, skills and values, or are you studying only for marks and a high percentage? For if you are focusing only on a high percentage, you are probably working only on short-term memory and therefore you think that studying at the last moment will help you to remember more for the exam.

But if you enjoy learning and focus on acquiring knowledge, skills and values, you will not leave it for the last hour. Studying everyday will help you to put the food in your mouth, chew well on it, swallow and absorb the nutrients.

Here are a few tips:
* Make an achievable goal.
* Make studying meaningful – Think what is important about the ‘studying’ you’ve been putting off? List all the benefits of doing regular, consistent work. Look at your work in relation to your goal/s. Be specific about the rewards for getting your studying done, including how you will feel when your board exam results are out.
* Tell everyone. Announce publicly your intention of how you will go about getting the studying done. Give one or two people the permission to ask you whether you have done the planned work.

Remember there is only one thing that you have control over, and that is yourself, your choices, your attitudes, and your responses. Now the question is, do you want the TV to control you or you to control your TV watching? The choice is in your hands alone.

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