Make your own choices

ask your counsellor

Make your own choices

Dear Madam,

I am an 18-year-old guy who passed SSLC with 92 per cent but scored only 60 per cent in IInd PUC. I am embarrassed by this. My father had to take a loan to get me a mechanical engineering seat. Consequently, there is a lot of pressure on me to perform well. Could you suggest me an effective timetable with which I can perform well? Also, I spend a lot of time chatting with my friends which distracts me. This is
affecting my overall study schedule. Kindly help me out.
P Sai

Dear P Sai,

I understand that you recognise that your performance in IInd PUC was not up to your potential and that you are feeling embarrassed and pressured because your father had to take a loan to get you an engineering seat. You recognise that some of your slip-up in performance could be due to the fact that you are now distracted and spend a lot of time talking to friends, instead of focusing on your work. It is good that you have been able to identify one of the causes of your poor performance, because if you know the reason it is easy to address, if you want to.

It is not for me to make a study time table for you, It is for you to make your own timetable and commit to it. I can make a timetable which can be completely meaningless because it does not have your buy-in. Your problem is probably not a lack of capability, but rather the absence of focus and a key motivating factor. Find your motivation and you will automatically be spurred to work towards achieving it. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am 16 years old and in my first year of commerce degree. I am an average student and have scored 75 percent in SSLC. I am lazy and have no interest in studying. I get through the examinations by sticking to a strict timetable. But I find myself lost in the nonsensical thoughts most of the time. I spend the time for studying daydreaming. I wish to study well and put my educational qualifications to good use. Kindly suggest some helpful measures.

Dear KV,

There is a time and a place for everything, including the nonsensical thoughts. It is quite natural for you to be distracted. Yet, it is good that you understand what the right path is for you and what will get you long-term results. If you know what works for you, then your problem is made simpler because you have a solution that works. If sticking to a timetable has worked for you in the past, then you should just replicate that model, while allowing time for distractions and maybe building it into your timetable. It is not necessary that you have to study all the time. It is important to focus and put in your best while you are studying and also keeping time for other things. Do remember all work and no play makes you dull. So, try to keep a healthy mix of both work and pleasure. I wish you all the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a 15-year-old girl. I finished my class 9 in an ICSE school with 74 percent results. I aspire to score more than 85 percent in my upcoming 10th board exams. But I am very nervous as I want to perform well. Suggest some helpful measures.

Dear SS,
When you feel nervous or anxious about an exam, take some time to understand what your worst fear is. Write down that fear, understand it and then set it aside. Let it not clutter up your active memory. I have written extensively in this column on exam anxiety, but I have also written an article which helps explain the demystify exam anxiety which can be found on my blog which is I urge you to take a few minutes to read it. Once you understand it, you can overcome it. Also remember, that the class 10 exams should not be your end goal. They are just a stepping stone on your journey in life. All the best.

Dear Madam,

I’m studying in II PUC (science). My problem is I can’t study for long hours at a stretch. I lose my concentration pretty soon. Can you tell me how to study for a long period of time and also how to revise for the exams?
Adarsh Kamble

Dear Adarsh,

I do not have any magic formula that can work for everyone. Each student needs to discover their own study technique that works best for them. If you are not able to concentrate for a long period of time at a stretch, then you must make your schedule such that you plan for short periods of focused time, with adequate breaks. It is not important to study all the time, and it is not a crime to take a break. Some people prefer to study in one long stretch and work for a couple of hours at a time.

Others work best in small chunks with breaks. Do what works best for you. As for revision, again, there are many techniques and you must discover what works for you. If you discover it on your own, you will commit to it. It is not something I can tell you how to do. All the best.

Dear Madam,

I failed my SSC exams owing to my difficulties in math and physics subjects. I studied hard for my re-exams and managed to clear all my papers. I am now scared to take up science again. But my family wants me to take up science while I am interested in arts. Kindly help me out here. Do I listen to my parents or my tutor who thinks I have potential in science?
Khadarabi M

Dear Khadarabi,

It is not for me to tell you which subjects you take. Your choice of subjects should be based on what is your end goal and what is the path you see yourself pursuing in your future. Whatever subjects you choose, you should choose them because you like them and want to do them, not because someone is suggesting them to you. But do remember that choices bring along great responsibilities. You then cannot blame anyone else if your performance is not up to the mark. So, take ownership of your future, and commit to it. And then follow your heart. All the best.

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