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Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,
I graduated in 2013 (BBM/BBA) and have worked as an accountant for two years. Currently, I am pursuing SAP (FICO). My average score was 45 per cent. Due to my low score, I haven’t got the opportunity to face an interview. What do I do to boost my opportunities and confidence ?
Potential employee

Dear potential employee,
I want you to remember that success in the workplace has nothing to do with the marks in your exams. The marks may sometimes open some doors of opportunity for you, but they cannot ensure your success. Success in the workplace depends more on other softer skills like your confidence, your ability to communicate, your ‘can do’ attitude, you willingness to ‘learn’, your ability to think out of the box, your creativity and problem-solving skills, your ability to work in a team, and your ability to take on leadership roles, among other things.

So, your marks may not have as much of a role to play as how and what you communicate in the actual interview itself. Your marks are not a reflection of your capability or ability, they are only an objective measure of how well you knew the answer to some questions that you were asked.

So, don’t let the fact that you did not get ‘good enough’ marks stop you, or block you. You need to believe in yourself, and your ability. You need to know your strengths, and from that gain strength about how you feel about yourself. Also, you need to know your weaknesses and accept those that you don’t want to change, and change those that you would like to change. And this understanding of who you really are will give you the belief in yourself to carry on. I have written extensively on this topic in this column in the past as well. You could also read my article See a lion in the mirror on my blog,

Dear Madam,
I am currently in first year of PUC (PCMC). My SSLC score is 73 per cent. Since my relatives have scored 90 per cent and above in their exams, my parents expect the same from me. Due to the huge amount of pressure, I can’t focus on my studies anymore. I aspire to take up engineering. Kindly help me out.
A student

Dear student,
Remember, your motivation to do well must come from within because you want to do well, not because you need to keep your parents happy. At the end of the day, you should be able to tell yourself that you put in your best effort, irrespective of what marks you get. Because if you don’t do that you will feel bad about having let an opportunity go by, and you will look at yourself in the mirror and not like what you see. You must give it your best shot, because you want to, and because you want to prove yourself to yourself – not to your parents or your cousins or other relatives.

This is about your life, and about your feeling satisfied with what you have done. It is about not short-changing yourself; it is about achieving your potential, not striving to reach someone else’s benchmarks. Give it your best shot and don’t focus on the marks.
Focus on putting in an honest effort that will give you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. If the marks follow, that’s a bonus. If not, there will be several opportunities that will come your way if you are willing to work to your potential. Marks just open some doors, they don’t guarantee success. Your short-term goal may be to get into a good engineering college, but your long-term goal should logically be to become a good engineer (which may have nothing to do with which college you go to). All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am studying in Class 12 (commerce). I don’t have much aptitude for CA. To pursue MBA in finance, would it be good to do BBM or BCom? Also, I follow astrology. So, should I go by my stars or should I believe in my abilities?

Dear Solanki,
I am not a career counsellor, and certainly not an expert on which course you should do, but I do know that there is no substitute for believing in yourself, and unleashing the power within you to help you achieve your potential. However, that sometimes seems like a scary option because it involves, then, taking responsibility for our decisions and actions. Believing in astrology gives us an escape route which allows us to blame our stars if things do not work out.

Dear Madam,
I have appeared for my first PU exams and I believe my score will be below 80 per cent. Till date, I haven’t felt the need to attend any tuition classes but the thought of entrance exams after II PU frighten me. Also, whenever my parents try to advise me about my performances, I lose my temper and fight. Due to this, I have lost interest in studies. Kindly suggest some measures to help me control my temper and regain my interest in studies.

Dear CK,
If you are trying to understand your anger, remember that anger is a secondary emotion. You don’t just get angry. You get angry, because some other primary emotion is not being expressed and need is not being fulfilled. For instance, you may be feeling scared and anxious about the future, worried about your performance, apprehensive about your ability to succeed, nervous about your exams, and so on. But none of these emotions are
expressed, they keep simmering inside you till you cannot hold them any longer, and then they burst out on your parents, whenever they say something that may increase them. Quite like a volcano. You can read more about this in my article at

The important thing then, is not to ‘control’ your temper but to recognise its underlying primary emotions, and learn how to express the in a way that is helpful to you, and not hurtful to the others around you. For this, you many need the help of a trusted adult, or a counsellor. You could also try calling the free Parivarthan Counselling helpline at 080-65333323080-65333323, where you can speak to a trained counsellor who may be able to help you work through your anger. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I fancy this boy in my college. He’s really popular and I am a shy person. I am sure that if I say anything to him, his friends will know about it and I would be embarrassed. Can you suggest a way, wherein I could drop in a hint but not give the game away?

Dear Nina,
You say that you are really shy, and that is what I am going to address. What is your worst fear which is making you shy? What do you fear will happen if you were to speak to him? It is often important to name the fear, and understand it in greater detail. Very often, in that process you may realize that the importance you are attaching to it may indeed be misplaced, in which case it may lose its sting and not be so fearful anymore.

So to repeat my question, what do you imagine would be the worst thing that could happen if you were to speak to him. You mention that his friends may come to know and that would be embarrassing. Something is embarrassing only if you are doing something ‘wrong’ or ‘improper’ and it gets discovered. Liking a person of the opposite sex is not ‘wrong’ or ‘improper’ or a crime. It is quite a normal thing for someone of your age.

So, have confidence in yourself, and take a risk. After all nothing in life is gained without taking a risk. And if you need some help to boost up your confidence before you take the risk then call the free counselling helpline that I have mentioned in the previous question and speak to a counsellor who may assist you work through your fears and anxieties around this issue.

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 us at dheducation
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