Face up to the Boards

Face up to the Boards

AsK Our counsellor

Dear Madam,
I am a Class 10 student. I’m so addicted to the Internet that I’m not able to concentrate on my studies. I aim to become an IAS officer. But my lack of concentration is giving me a hard time. Please help me. What should I do to focus on studies? I just tend to procrastinate my work. I’m worried about my performance at the Boards.
Dear SPH,
By the time this letter gets published, you are probably right in the thick of your Board exams. Fortunately the problem that you raise ‘lack of concentration’ is one that is completely within your control. It is not an external problem or situation that you cannot control, even though you make it sound like it is something that is just happening without your participation in the process. If you are bored then please do some introspection and figure out for yourself why you are bored. Are you just focussing on learning everything by rote, in which case even the most interesting subject can become boring?

Are you feeing too stressed and pressured by the outcome (i.e. the results) that you are not really focussing on learning anything? Have you been trying to spend every waking minute studying, without any time for rest, relaxation and recreation, in which case you are probably tired and burnt out by now and unable to focus anymore? Remember to be able to concentrate while you are studying, you must get adequate sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and relax. Make sure your worries are not what are clouding your mind and not allowing you to focus. If that is the case, then please share your worries with someone you can trust. Let them hold your worries for you, while you clear your mind and focus on your task on hand.

Dear Madam.
I am third-year, B.Sc (agriculture) studying in UAS, Raichur. I am unable to concentrate on my studies. My percentage is good but I have three arrears to clear. I am constantly distracted by friends and chit-chat. They tease me which makes me angry, but I control myself. I practise a bit of yoga too. I want to pursue an MSc in Entomology.

Dear XYZ,
I am not in any position to recommend books to you, nor can I comment on your choice of subject for post-graduation. However, I can help you with the pressure and stress that the teasing by your friends is causing you. I understand that it is making you feel angry, and you feel you need to control that anger. It is important to recognise and accept that you are feeling angry, and that it is okay to feel angry. However, what you do with that anger is important. Do you allow it to disturb your concentration because it is eating you up from within, or do you allow it to goad you to speak your mind, and let your friends know how you feel, so that they feel pressured to change their behaviour. Sometimes, we feel angry, and are not sure of ourselves, and therefore fear that if we speak up we will lose our friends; if we show our true feelings, we will appear to be weak. On the contrary, having the courage to speak up and let people know how you feel is a sign of great strength. Believe in yourself, and your worth, and don’t let the fear of losing your friends hold you back. Let them know how their behaviour makes you feel. If nothing else, their response, will provide you with a test to benchmark their friendship.
Meanwhile doing yoga and deep breathing are good stress-busters and will help you calm down.

Dear Madam,
I am a Class 10 student, studying under ICSE Board. I have scored averagely in my unit tests, but I have failed three subjects in the preps because of lack of concentration. I know I can do better, but it’s somehow not happening. I am not at all confident about passing the Boards, which will start soon. I want to concentrate on my studies and nothing else till my Boards get over. I come from a family of rank holders. I am worried about embarrassing my family members and relatives. How many hours should I study every day? How can I devise a strong daily time-table that will help me study more in less time?

Dear Freda,
By the time this response gets published, you will be in the midst of your Board exams. All I can say is that fear can be a really negative emotion which holds you back from performing to your true potential. Don’t let fear bring you down. When you are really scared of something, try and analyse what it is that you are really scared about. You mentioned that everyone in your family is a rank holder and that if you don’t do well it will be a big embarrassment.

Please don’t let external pressures like this be your motivators. If at all you want to do well, it should be because that is something that you desire, not because it is something for the benefit of everyone around you. Remember, that you are unique and special in your own way. Know your own strengths and weaknesses. If academics is not your strength, it does not mean that you are not worthy and capable in other aspects of your life, or that you are of less value to those around you.

In any case academic achievements are not a guarantee of success in life — only of success in exams. Even if you don’t do as well as you, and others, would like, you still have the rest of your life to be successful in ways that you want. Exams are merely a stepping-stone, or a door-opener. So, for whatever is left of your exams, good luck and learn to relax.


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