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Dear Madam,

I am a 15 year old boy. I love sports and I feel I can excel at it, but that’s just a gamble. My parents force me to study. As a result I secure low grades. Of late many sportsmen are found to be making a lot of money through sports. What should I do? Study or focus on sports?

Aspiring Sportsperson

Dear Sportsperson,

I have three observations to make about your letter. Firstly, are you aspiring to be a sportsperson for the love of the sport, or for the money you can make? Secondly, are you chasing sports for the love of sports, or for the desire to escape studying? And thirdly, if you are aspiring for the big league in sports, then by age 15 you would probably already have some indication if you can make it.

So, check your motivation. Is it to make money, is it to avoid studying, or is it because you excel at it. I do not believe sports and studies are mutually exclusive. You may not excel in studies, but sports helps you concentrate better at your work and you would need some amount of knowledge about the world around you even to be a charismatic sportsman.
Ultimately, sports is about personal passion. But check your motivation first.

Dear Madam,

I have finished writing my CET exam. This is the second time I am attempting it and I have failed once again in securing a seat in the medical field. I don’t have the courage to face my family. I am really scared as I have disappointed them. Please help. Is studying abroad an option?

A Student

Dear Student,

I can understand your worry and your anxiety. You feel helpless since you have failed at the exam a second time and don’t have the courage to face your family. You need courage to do something when you are scared of it. So my question to you is what are you scared about? It is important to be able to name your fears. This helps us concretize them and see if the fears are rational or not. Sometimes we have a lot of irrational fears, and when we think about them we realise that there is no need for us to be scared of them. So what are your fears about facing your family?

Are you scared that they will not love you anymore? Are you scared that they will throw you out of the house? Are you scared that they will not support you anymore? They may be disappointed by your result, but their disappointment is something they have to deal with. After all no one gets everything they want, and facing disappointment is a part of life. You need to focus on putting in your best effort in doing what you want to do.

Read my article on putting exams in perspective at http://personalorbitchange.blogspot.com/2010/09/putting-exams-in-perspec...
I don’t have an answer for you about whether studying abroad is a better option. It depends on your readiness to be in a new environment, your family’s financial situation, etc. Studying abroad is not a guarantee of success. The only guarantee is putting in your best effort. 

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