Your only limit is you

Your only limit is you

Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,

I have been very poor in academics right from my childhood. I used to score about 61-70% in high school. In Class 10, I got grade D in maths. I just finished Class 12 exams and am scared that I haven’t performed well, especially in mathematics.

My favourite hobby is chess and I have been playing it for the past eight years and have represented India in several international tournaments as well. My parents and lecturers are pressurising me to do well in entrance exams but, I have lost all my confidence. I do not have any more faith in my academics. Please help.

A student

Dear Student,

Everyone has different strength areas, and areas that they are not so good at. Just because you find mathematics difficult, or academics a bit challenging, it does not mean that you are not capable or any less worthy a person. It is important for each of us to know our strength areas and leverage them in life. The same people who are putting pressure on you in academics, fail to recognise and give you credit for your excellent performance in chess. Please remember that marks are not the gateway to success in life.

Marks may open some doors for you, but they do not guarantee success in life. Success in life depends on many other things like your ability to work in a team, and lead a team, your ability to solve problems and come up with out-of-the-box solutions, your ability to communicate, your confidence. Many of these are things you may have learnt by your experiences in playing chess and these will also hold you in good stead in life. Learn to look at yourself in totality with all your strengths and weaknesses. Put in your best effort, and remember, if one door closes, another one will open.

Dear Madam,

I’m currently in the first year of MBBS course, but I have lost interest in it. I like doing something creative but this course gives no emphasis on that. It’s all about rote learning and reproducing the same in the exams. I also love interacting with new people but I have lost direction and I don’t find any purpose in my life. What do you suggest I should do?

Kaushik Reddy

Dear Kaushik,

If MBBS is not something that you are finding interesting, you may want to consider changing your line. You may have wasted a year, but it is a short span compared to the rest of your life. It is better to spend your life doing something you enjoy and are passionate about, rather than going about the rest of your life like a chore.

You may want to consider getting the help of a career counsellor to see what truly interests you and the best possible ways to explore them. You don’t need to stick to a field that you don’t enjoy. So, consider your options and see if those are more interesting for you. But remember, whatever path you choose, you need to arrive at your own definition of success for you to feel satisfied. You cannot chase others’ definitions of success.

Dear Madam,

I am studying in Class 10 (CBSE) in a residential school. I face a lot of difficulty in maths and science. All my marks are above 80% now, except in maths and science. I often doze off in class.

When I want to study, I doze off and find it difficult to wake up early in the mornings too. While I do make timetables for myself, I find it hard to follow them regularly. The only time I study is when the exams are close, and I manage to score around 65%. Could you tell me how to focus and concentrate?

Athmiya A R

Dear Athmiya,

Is it possible that you are so anxious about maths and science that whenever you need to face them, your system shuts down due to anxiety and you tend to fall off to sleep? Is it possible that consulting a counsellor to help you with your anxiety and feeling of being overwhelmed? I don’t know if there is a counsellor in your school. If not, you can reach out to a counsellor on the Parivarthan Counselling at 080 65333323.

This is a free helpline for students like you, where a counsellor can help you deal with your exam anxiety and stress. If the mind is very anxious, it becomes difficult to concentrate and focus on studies because the mind is full of thoughts stemming from that anxiety.

Please read my articles, which were published in this newspaper earlier at www.personalorbitchange.blogspot.in/2010/09/putting-exams-in-perspective... www.personalorbitchange.blogspot.in/2013/11/demystifying-exam-anxiety.html. They may help you understand what you are experiencing and give you some guidelines on dealing with it. All the best.

Dear Madam,

I finished Class 12 and tried getting into MBBS, but couldn’t get a seat. I have chosen to take a year’s gap and write the entrance exam again. As I am very weak in organic chemistry, I am apprehensive about the exams. What if I don’t get a seat again? Could you suggest ways in which I can rid myself of the fear of organic chemistry fear and gain more confidence?

Sadikha Sultana

Dear Sadikha,

Sometimes getting a good teacher makes all the difference, and you may want to try and find yourself a good private tutor for organic chemistry. However, you don’t need to ‘love’ the subject — just understanding it may be enough! Everyone has some subjects that they are better at than others, and in your case you are better at other subjects compared to organic chemistry. It does not mean that you should let your weakness in organic chemistry define your sense of your own capability in other subjects.

It is courageous of you to take a year’s gap to pursue what you wish. Not many students have the courage to do that. It speaks well about your determination and interest. However, it is important not to start thinking that it is the only path you can take.

That is one of the many paths you can take and if, for some reason, that path shuts down, there will always be other paths that you can explore — provided you allow yourself the possibility of that choice. Everyone has a preferred path, but it’s a mistake when we feel there’s only one path for us. There are many choices available in life. Good luck.

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