Believe in yourself

Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,

I am in Class XII and am very weak in studies but do very well in sports. Should I study or do sports? Please help me, ma’am. My parents don’t help me in both.


Dear Aisha,

You are fortunate that you have been able to identify a strength area for yourself. However, even if you focus on sports, you need to be able to identify a way to make it a profession that can sustain you financially. Only a handful of the top sports people earn a lot of money through sports.

For the rest of them, they have to marry their strength in sports with other business ideas to be able to sustain themselves. To be able to do that without other education may be difficult. It may be good for you to look at your academic education as a way of opening doors for you to leverage on your strength in sports. You would probably need the academic qualifications to open some doors for you in the future. Without the academic qualifications you may find your options severely reduced.

So, by all means, focus on sports, but think about how you are going to convert that into an idea that will sustain you financially. You can then view your academic education as a stepping stone to gain the skills for the implementation of that idea.
I hope that was helpful. I urge you to communicate with your parents so that both of you are able to understand each others’ points of view and take an informed decision jointly.

Dear Ma’am,

I am studying 2nd PU now and am really confused as I have to prepare for both NEET and Board exams, and my score in physics and mathematics are really poor. I want to be a doctor, not any doctor but a cardiologist. I know my maths score is immaterial to my dream of becoming a doctor but I want to keep my options open and have a good score in my Board exam as well. And, I often lose confidence on my ability to achieve my dreams and feel that I may have taken the wrong decision. Even after having a good knowledge of what I study, I fail in its presentation. Even in languages I lose marks due to my poor presentation. But, I used to score well in CBSE syllabus in which I completed my tenth. I think I can score well in all the subjects because usually I score well in unit tests but when it comes to summative tests I fail in my performance. I have great hopes of my parents on my shoulder. I don't wish to be a failure. Please solve my riddled conceptions.

P Eshwar

Dear Eshwar,

You seem to be too stressed and that is leading to your lack of concentration and poor performance in exams. It is natural for anyone to have some element of self-doubt about their choice of path.

The grass may always appear to be greener, or easier, on the other path.
I don’t think you should let your parents’ hopes on you weigh you down. They are meant to motivate you, not lead you to dysfunction. You have to believe in the fulfillment of your own hopes and dreams and in that process, your parents’ dreams will also be fulfilled. You are not alone in having to bear the weight of parental expectations. All parents have expectations from their children.

 These expectations are meant to motivate children, not to weigh them down. Remember, there are several ways to fulfill parental expectations, unlike the common perception that there is only one right way.

Ultimately your parents want you to be happy and successful. It is your interpretation that they will be happy only if you are happy and successful in ways that they define. You have a choice to be happy and successful in ways that you define. Exercise that choice.

Also, define your end goal - is it to do well in the Board exams, or to do well in NEET, or to become a doctor, or to become a cardiologist, or to become a world-class cardiologist, or to help people live longer lives? Take a long-term view and treat the exams on the way merely as milestones towards that goal. They are not defining moments unless you make them out to be that.

Dear Madam,

My daughter is eleven and a half years old, studying in VI std. She is having a lot of problems with studies. Basically, she is a mild, intelligent, friendly and bold girl, who is ambitious to be a popular leader. She has a knack for speaking extempore and won group leader elections. She is hyper sensitive and a very stressed girl.

Nowadays, her stress level has increased so much that she hates to go to school, and even the sight of her school uniform and books upsets her. Her main problem is studying for tests & exams. Since she has come to a higher class, the frequency of tests has increased and because of the high stress, she finds it very difficult to sit down and work hard. She is a fast learner but the stress is causing a lot of problems. I constantly counsel her. We have never put any kind of pressure on her academic performance.

I would very much appreciate and would be grateful if you could advise us as to how we can help our child reduce her stress so that she will carry on with her activities without difficulty. Kindly help.

Concerned mother

Dear mother,

I can understand your concern, because being able to face stressful situations is a very important life skill for all of us. The difference between those who are successful in life and those who are not, very often is dependent on how people handle the various stresses that they are bound to experience in life. I think it would be very helpful for you to take your child to a counsellor who will be able to work with her through this process.

Stressful situations are most often the result of our irrational beliefs like, “I have to succeed at everything I do otherwise I am worthless”, “Everyone has to think I am a great person or has to like me”, or “My worth depends on how many people like me”, and so on. A counsellor will be able to uncover your child’s beliefs that are holding her back, and help her replace them with more rational beliefs that will allow her to deal with her stresses more easily.

After all, your happiness and your ability to deal with stress depends on what you think you are worth. And the foundations of that get laid in childhood.

Dear Madam,

I just wanted your suggestions to go ahead with my life and career. I could not pass 2nd PUC even after two attempts. After the second attempt, I started working. Since three years I am an office executive. Because I don’t have education I’m not at all valued anywhere. I really want to do something in life because I have my family who is depending on me. I don’t mind working under you also if I can grow. I’m not interested in studies. Also please give me some suggestions wherein I can come up in life.


Dear Smitha,

Unfortunately, I am not hiring people to work under me. However, remember that the value the world ascribes to you is merely a reflection of the value you ascribe to yourself. You may not have formal education, but you may have other strengths which can help you. You need to identify your strengths and that will make you feel empowered.

The strengths are not only things that you do, or have achieved, but are also a function of the person that you are. Remember, Dhirubhai Ambani hardly had a formal degree as a foundation for his success.

And there are many other such names that one can come across. Success in life depends not only on your educational degree, but on many other life skills like your confidence, your ability to communicate, your problem-solving skills, your ability to think out of the box, your ability to lead a group, or be an effective member of a group, your risk-taking and creativity, your entrepreneurship, your sincerity, your drive, and so many other things.

Maullika Sharma is an MBA graduate with a specialisation 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

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