Ask your counsellor.....

Ask your counsellor.....

Learn from failures

Dear Madam,
I completed my Class X in 2007 with 78%, and my 12th in 2011 with 49%. I had failed two times in 12th. I joined in an engineering college taking electronics and communication. Now I am in the second year. I had 78% of marks in the first year of the degree, but have failed in the second year now. I feel my life to be ruined and have lost confidence in myself. My parents too have lost confidence in me. I do not know what to do in life. I have lost three precious years of my life. If I complete my BE course too, I will not get a good job. I am very confused.

Dear Kaushik
I understand that you are struggling to complete your engineering degree and are losing confidence, not only in your ability to complete the course, but also to be able to get a job. You are worried that you have lost 3 years of life. Success lies in being able to bounce back from a low period. You can choose to say you have wasted three years of your life, and so there is no point, your whole life is a waste. Or you can choose to say that I have wasted three years, but that is only a mere 3-4% of my life. Let me see what I can learn from these failures so that I don’t waste the rest. If you are able to take away some valuable life lessons from this experience, it will not have been a wasted three years.
You need to be able to look at having a successful career, not just at getting the next job. A successful career does not depend on the marks in your exams, but on your other strengths, your confidence, your communication skills, your self esteem, your ability to work in a team, your problem-solving skills, your ability to think out of the box, your creativity, etc. So my suggestion is that first go ahead and identify your strengths (and I am sure you will have some, even though right now it may not seem like that). Think about what kind of career will help you leverage your strengths. Focus on developing some of those strengths. And, if in the process of this introspection, you discover that you would rather be following a different path, don’t be afraid of change. Three years is just that, three years. It is not a life time and you need to be able to put it in perspective. The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that it is your whole life, and  everything is lost.
Dear Madam,
I am a student of class XII and have taken up Science. When I was in Class X, I did not know what to opt for as a career, as I was not able to judge what I was good at. I am an average student. Therefore, I opted for science so that I can choose anything later. I wanted to pursue journalism as my career but was not sure. Today, I am sure that I want to be a journalist, but I have to join a reputed college. The problem is that I have lost the little interest I had in studies. The subjects I am studying now seem meaningless for me. They just don't interest me at all. I am not scoring well either. I get 60% or so. Now, my marks and my goal horrify me. I try a lot to study. It’s just not happening. Looking at my present, I get worried about my future. Please tell me what I should do!

Dear student,
I understand your confusion, and your decision on choice of subjects. I think you did the right thing by choosing subjects that kept your options open since you did not know what career you wanted to pursue. Whether you pursue journalism or any other career, gaining a scientific understanding of the world always proves to be beneficial and can add value. My feeling is that now, since you have decided on journalism, you think what you are studying right now is a waste of time, and have, therefore, lost interest in it. That need not necessarily be true. Even if you become a journalist, you may not yet know what kind of journalist you want to become. Journalists also need a certain depth of understanding of the subjects they are going to write about. So journalism can be a career that is built as a layer on top of subject matter knowledge. Your degree in Science will go a long way in becoming a field of specialisation as a journalist for you, if taken seriously. A journalist, specialised in Science and Technology - That would be interesting, right?
You say you are an average student. That means you have given yourself a pre-decided label and will not give yourself the opportunity to break out of the ‘average’ mould. Think about what are your strengths. Break up your big goal of becoming a journalist into smaller steps, some of which you can address now itself. For instance, start writing on topics that may interest you. Try getting your writings published. Write your own blog, etc. This will help you to establish your credentials when you get to the point of launching yourself into journalism. It will also help you differentiate yourself. Don’t let your anxiety about your future, take away the joy from your present. Failure is never final unless you let it. You can always bounce back from failures, provided you learn from them and allow yourself to.
All the best

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