Don't let others decide your worth

Don't let others decide your worth

Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,

I am studying in class 10 (CBSE) in a residential school. I have lost all my hopes to achieve what I want in academics. When I was in the junior classes, I was the topper of my class every time. After class 8, my academic performance went weak.

Now I have scored 86 % in the first semester examination. Sometimes I feel it is because of the heavy syllabus. But I have no difficulty in understanding the subject. Everyone who is average, is performing well. I have an exam fear.

I can’t tolerate the tension when I see the question paper in the exams. I put in all my efforts. But I am not getting the results. Please suggest me ways to overcome my exam fever and to gain confidence.

A student

Dear student,

The fact that you are facing exam anxiety is not unique to you. Many, many students face anxiety before their exams – especially major exams like the one you are going to take. If your school has a counsellor, I suggest you reach out  for help. Sometimes, a trusted teacher may also play that role effectively. Counselling will help you understand your fears and anxieties and how to face them.

Alternatively, you could reach out to the Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 080-65333323, which is  free of cost. You will be able to reach a counsellor on the phone who will be able to help you. I have written a lot about exam fear in this column, and all my previous writings can be found on my blog

You could go through the earlier columns and I am sure many of your questions and fears will get answered there. I want to particularly draw you to two articles I have written on this topic which I think will be helpful for you: Why exams are nothing to fear about? ( ) and Demystifying exam anxiety ( ).
Dear Madam,

I am in class 10. My board exams are in another few weeks. But, I am not able to concentrate on studies because all my classmates complained about me to my teacher. Now, everyone thinks that I am a bad person. I feel I am being isolated. Please help me out.

Akshara Rao

Dear Akshara,

Just because someone said something about you does not mean that becomes the truth. Also, why are you giving others so much power that they decide whether you are a good person or a bad person? No one is a ‘bad’ person — you may have done something ‘bad’ but that does not mean you are bad in totality. And what gives the others the power to decide whether you are good or bad.

That is something you need to believe and decide about yourself. If you believe you are a bad person, then that is what others start reflecting around you. So believe in yourself. Know your strengths and capabilities and know that everyone has some weaknesses. But most importantly, don’t allow others to pass a decisive judgment on you. They only have that power if you give it to them.

If your classmates complained about you to your teacher, that does not mean that you are not a ‘good’ person and that no one should interact with you. But if you start believing that about yourself then others start thinking that way too.All the best.

Dear Madam,

I am a 17-year-old student. I just graduated class 12. I wanted to study medicine, but did not get a suitable rank. But I was so determined to get into medical at that time, that my parents allowed me take a year off for the preparations of competitive exams. Now I don’t know why but I’m not able to concentrate or control my mind. I seem to be getting distracted a lot while studying.

Exams are nearing and I am getting tense about the results. I did not join any coaching institute as my parents told me self-preparation is the best way. I thought it won’t be that difficult since I had already gone through the syllabus once. But now, I am facing difficulties. I don’t know what to do. I am starting to doubt my own abilities. I still want to study medicine, but I am starting to feel that I won’t get a good rank this year too. Please help me.


Dear Vasudha

You need to believe in yourself. Maybe you are not being able to concentrate because of anxiety around the exams. Because you took a year off to prepare, you may be feeling under pressure to do well. Remember that this entrance exam is not an end in itself. It is just a means to an end. And if you don’t do well in this exam, it does not mean that you are a total failure.

All it means is that you may need to look for some other doors that may open for you, some other opportunities that may come your way. It is good to pursue your dream and give it your best shot. But if you are not able to achieve it, it does not mean that all is lost. As for needing help, there is still time and you may still be able to get some help.

You could get some help with a one-to-one tutor who could just work with your doubts and that may help give you some confidence. Meanwhile, you may also want to read this article on exam anxiety which may be of help All the best.

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