Naming your fear helps conquer it

Naming your fear helps conquer it

Ask your counsellor

Hello Ma’am,
 I am a student of RVCE, Bangalore in the Electrical and Electronics branch, presently in the 2nd year. I am totally confused about what to do after engineering. Basically I want to become a successful entrepreneur (industrialist), earn a lot of money and have a happy life, not as a middle class working employee. But the problem is I don’t have rich parents who can afford to give me the initial capital, or send me for higher studies. I am interested in fields like research and development. I am a gadget and gizmo freak. So I am not able to know what exactly I need to do because of which my performance in engineering college has gone down. I am even depressed a lot. I was a bright student and confident too. I used to read lots of technology magazines and newspapers and was interested in gadgets and technology. But now, I am totally confused and under-performing too. But I believe I am a very quick learner and very good at understanding concepts unlike other guys. My main goal is changing the present electrical systems, transmission, and generation. I want to make something for the betterment of humans. However, I know I am a little over ambitious too. Kindly help me.

Dear Student,
I can sense your confusion and worry about the future. You say you want to be successful, earn a lot of money and happiness. I want you to take a few minutes to identify what success means to you. How and when will you know that you have been successful. Success can mean different things to different people, and unless you define it, you could constantly be chasing an elusive mirage. So how will you know that you have been successful?
You also seem to assume, in your letter, that happiness is a function of how much money you have. You may have all the money in the world and still not be happy. Or you may hardly have any money, and still be happy. Happiness is not a function of money. Happiness is a state of mind. And you alone can make yourself happy or unhappy. It depends to a large extent on how you interpret situations, and how satisfied you feel with yourself. And the sooner you are able to see happiness as a product of your internal locus of control, rather than something that is dependent on the external world, the happier you will be able to make yourself. So again, define what happiness means to you. It is good that you are confident of your capabilities and know some of your strengths. There is no such thing as over-ambitious. You are either ambitious or not. It is always good to aim high so that you have something to work towards. But don’t let achieving that be your source of happiness, or a definition of your success. Your happiness and success should be defined in terms of your journey, and milestones on your journey, rather than only on the ultimate goal.
While I am not in a position to tell you what specifically you should do after your engineering, It is important that you answer these questions for yourself and find the motivation within. It is not necessary to have ‘family wealth’ to succeed. You can succeed on the power of your ideas as well. These days there is a lot of boost to entrepreneurship in the country, so if your idea has weight, you will be able to find the funding.
All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a student of class 10. My problem is that I get very tense during the days of my exams. While preparing for the exams, I start shivering, sweating and feel like vomiting. Though I go through all my lessons, I feel I am not prepared. I go through all my chapters again and again though I have already studied them once or twice. I get so tense that I start crying and at some point of time, I stop studying and go to sleep. Even at that time, I think about whether I'll be able to complete the portions for my exams. Then I study all through the night and keep on studying until I enter the examination hall. I don't eat anything and spoil my health during these days. I also trouble my parents in this process. And finally after the results are out, I am one of the top 5 rank holders. Why does this happen to me? I find all my friends so confident. Why am I not as confident as them? Why do I get tense so easily? My Preparatory Exams are fast approaching and I don't want all this to happen to me again. Please help.
Yashaswini Yogesh

Dear Yashaswini,
I understand that you have a panic attack at the time of your exams, and now that your Board Exams are approaching you are concerned about this. I am glad you have sought help and recognize that you should not be getting so panicky. When you compare yourself to your friends you feel you are the only one reacting like this. Firstly, let me assure you that you are not alone in panicking before exams. It happens to many youngsters, even though outwardly you may not be able to tell in some cases. However, you are right in thinking that you should not react this way and that there must be a better way around this problem.
I would like you to take a few minutes thinking about what you are scared of. The panic is the result of fear of the outcome. So what drives the fear and what is the worst possible outcome? Ponder over this. Once you name the fear, you may realize that the worst possible outcome is something you can live with. It suddenly does not seem to be as scary as you had thought it is. Don’t let the fear paralyze you. Think about the fear and confront it. Some of the possible fears could be that you will feel like a failure, or that your parents will be disappointed, or that your friends may laugh at you. These are common fears that students have. So name your fear and confront it. Believe me, that will take the punch out of it.
You ask me why this happens to you. This probably happens to you because you don’t believe in yourself. You need to believe in your own capabilities. And believe, that if you do not do well for some reason, then that is not the end of the world. You are still a worthy and capable person. Just because you may not do well once, does not make you are a failure for life. Remember, failure is an event. It is never a person. If you fail at an exam it does not mean that you have failed as a person. Very often we interpret as a total failure and therein lies the problem. To understand this, you could read the following articles on my blog - ‘Putting exams in perspective’ ( ) and ‘It’s not the end of the road’ ( ).
Remember to focus on the effort and not on the marks. Effort is all that we can control. Our fear often arises because we focus on the marks and the marks are not in our control, so we have a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness due to the fact that we can’t control the outcome.
Hope this helps and good luck for your exams.

(Maullika Sharma is an MBA graduate with a specialistion in counselling.
She works with adolescents and parents. Send in your queries to Ask Your Counsellor,  Education, Deccan Herald, 75, MG Road, Bangalore-560001 or email as at dheducation

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