Overcome your fears

Overcome your fears

Dear madam,
I am a third year MBBS student. My score in 1st year was 70 percent and 66 percent in 2nd year. Although, I am good in practical, I falter in theory. I get low scores in every internal test and main exams. I can’t seem to find the root of the problem. Does presentation of my answers lead to low scores? This has left me depressed and lowered my self-confidence. I am a hard-working student and also know that to become a successful doctor, I need my hands-on skills more than the theoretical knowledge. But I get very distracted by the low scores.Please give me some tips in getting better marks in my theory exams.

Dear student,
Please don’t worry about the marks, because like you said, it is the learning that is more important. You seem to be better at the tougher tasks. Clinical skills, understanding and communication are what get tested in the practicals and you seem to be in an enviable position there. It may be that you have now worked yourself up and are getting anxious about getting the marks, which is then not letting you focus and concentrate while studying and writing the papers.

Sometimes, anxiety fills up our mind, and we tend to forget things we are meant to remember. It is absolutely important not to let anxiety get the better of it. Always believe that even if the worst happens, you will still be able to have a meaningful life. So, enjoy your strengths in the areas that are aspirational for others. And don’t fill your mind with worry. 

However, when you get your marked test or exam papers back, do spend a few minutes understanding where you made the mistakes and why you lost the marks. The important thing to remember every time you are not as successful as you would like to be, is to learn from the experience.

What can you learn from the situation and the result which will make you do better the next time. Self-reflection, rather than worry, fear and anxiety, can pay rich dividends. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am currently in my second year of mechanical engineering and have lost my focus on studies. Having lost a year, I feel I can’t do anything right while everyone around me is performing well. I also failed in the 12th board exams in one subject, however, I cleared it in the supplementary exam. I did my NCC and I also have a C certificate with an A grade. I want to join the army, but I am not feeling confident about myself and whenever I sit to study, negative thoughts arise in my mind and I feel that I can’t do it at all. Please help.
Akshay Kulkarni

Dear Akshay,
All of us get both positive and negative thoughts. They come in huge numbers  every other day in our heads. So, the fact that you are getting negative thoughts is not something to be worried about. It is normal. You just have to train yourself to let the thoughts go. I am not sure which city you are in, and if you will be able to take the help of a counsellor to handle your negative thoughts, rebuild your confidence and regain your focus. I think it will help you tremendously to take this support. 

In case you are not able to find a good counsellor, feel free to call the Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 080-65333323. This is a free service that you can avail of without any hesitation. Counselling will help you discover your own potential and regain your confidence. It is to your credit that you have been able to reach out for help by writing in to me via this column. Now I urge you to take the next step of reaching out for some on-going support that can really make a difference. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a 26-year old guy from Dharwad, currently pursuing a course in hotel management and aviation in Hubballi. I suffer from social anxiety. For the past eight years, I have been taking medications but it is of no consequence. I underwent all kinds of therapies, but it has not helped me. Kindly help me out here as my future career is in jeopardy. I have major responsibilities like repaying my educational loan and taking care of my mother.
Vinayak Patil

Dear Vinayak,
A large part of the treatment for social phobia and anxiety is based on cognitive behaviour therapy techniques and belief modification. I’m sorry to hear that you are not benefiting from the medications and therapy you have been undergoing. There is a lot of work being done in NIMHANS in Bengaluru to help clients with social anxiety. I am wondering if it is possible for you to seek the help of the behavioural therapy unit in NIMHANS.

I am not familiar with the resources available in Hubballi, but this is a specialised technique and I do know that there are skilled doctors in NIMHANS who may help you out. Social anxiety stems from irrational beliefs about yourself, the people around you, and your relationship with them.

You tend to undervalue yourself and your worth and capabilities, and overvalue that of those around you. This makes you feel uncomfortable in their presence, to the point of making your dysfunctional unless you are able to recognise this pattern and address the underlying beliefs that are driving it. 

I am not sure how much I have been able to help you by this response, but you are right in seeking out help, as that is the first step to getting back on track. And once you have been able to overcome the fears associated with your anxiety you can be back to handling your career with comfort. 

Dear Madam,
I am pursuing my 2nd year PUC in science. I am interested in doing BSc Psychology in Macquarie University, Sydney. But my parents want me to become a doctor. Also, they are not comfortable with me going abroad for this purpose. I am confused and pondering whether the decision of studying psychology is right or not. Kindly suggest a way out.

Dear Nikitha,
It is nice to know that you are clear about what you want to study. Many at your age do not have such a clear idea. What might help you is to spend some time thinking about your reasons for making that choice. Why are you interested in psychology? And, also think try doing a SWOT analysis for yourself.

Understand and list down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities ahead of you and the threats in your path. You could do this at a general level, and then specifically keeping psychology in mind. This exercise will help you establish whether you have a lasting interest in psychology, and whether it will play to your strengths.

Once you have this analysis for yourself, you will be in a better position to have a conversation with your parents about psychology versus medicine, and also understand their reasons for preferring medicine. When you have made a choice of field, you can then arrive at what is the best university to do it from. Good luck.

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, Bengaluru-560001 or email as at dheducation @deccanherald.co.in.

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