Ask your counsellor

Ask your counsellor

Grades don't guarantee success

Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,
I’m a student doing my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering, but the problem is that I have never been interested in this course. Ever since I joined the Science stream at my parents’ behest, my life has been one depressing roller coaster. I had always wanted to do something related to the social welfare of my country and its citizens. I have always wanted to get into the field of International relations, but now I just can’t. I joined the engineering course two years ago. Now, I’m repeating my first year. I am depressed, have gained weight, don’t talk to my friends and don’t go out. I don’t know what to do. Should I quit because I’m constantly depressed? My father says even if I finish my degree with an aggregate of 50%, I can study further and then get a well-paid job and settle down, and while I’m no fool who says ‘It’s not about the money’ (because it is), I just can’t seem to get motivated to do my Bachelor’s degree. Please, please help me.
A student

Dear Student,
I think the fields of science and engineering allow you enough opportunity to work in any other field that you may want. You can study engineering and use your skills for the betterment of society. You can study science and use it to further International Relations as well since economies are really global now and scientific developments are often the subject of international agreements. So don’t think that you need to give up your dreams because you chose the wrong subject. The subjects you choose are only a stepping stone to an end path. The possible end paths may be many, and you can really make them out to be whatever you want.
Try and understand what success means to you and what will give you happiness. This may be completely different from what your success means to your parents. Understand what motivates you. Your depression may not have anything to do with your current choice of subjects. It could be something completely different based on beliefs that you have which are not serving you. I suggest you see a counsellor, or reach out to the free Parivarthan Counselling helpline at 080 65333323 where a counsellor can help you over the phone.  

Dear Madam,
I am currently in the first year of college and I stay away from my family. This is the first time I am staying away from them for a long period. As a result, I often feel alone and feel like I don’t belong, despite being in a good college and surrounded by nice people. Due to this, I feel that it would impact my studies and making new friends. While I do feel that I have settled down to some extent, this feeling doesn’t seem to be going away. How can I make this situation feel better? Any guidance would be helpful.  
Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
It is normal for children (or for that matter, sometimes even adults) to feel homesick when they leave home (especially for the first time). You have left what was a familiar and comfortable environment to move to a new unfamiliar environment where you need to re-establish your relationships, take responsibility for everything yourself, and basically take charge of your life. That can be scary and over-whelming for everyone, but you slowly start getting the hang of it and feeling more comfortable in your new space. Stay in touch with your family and friends back home, and often, that helps reduce the distance. Talk to them about what you are feeling so that they understand. Whenever you get a chance, take a short trip back home if possible (over a long weekend) and that may help you. Know that this is a normal part of your settling down. Talk to a counsellor if you feel very concerned about it and that should help. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a Class 10 student, following the CBSE stream. As I would be writing the Board exams in the coming year, I feel pressurised to do well and achieve a perfect score of 10, as this is what my older sibling has got in the previous cycle of the exams. While I do want to do my best and achieve a good score, I think that I may not be able to do so because of this pressure. At the same time, I also want to achieve a balance of study and play. How can I ensure that this happens without hampering my end result?
A stressed student

Dear Student
Please remember that marks in exams are only an external objective benchmark that the world uses (because they need some benchmark) to assess you. They do not necessarily represent the reality, not are they a predictor of success. What is of more significance is your internal subjective assessment of your own worth. That drives the effort you can put in, the confidence you have, the choices you make, and what you make of those choices. The most important end result is not the perfect 10 score, but your ability to put in your best effort, your ability to learn, get along with people, communicate well, your ability to think out of the box and solve problems creatively, your ability to be a thought-leader and a people leader, among many other things. Marks don’t figure anywhere in this equation. Marks only open doors for you. They do not guarantee success. So focus on the right goals. Remember, this is not about being better than your sibling, or about being good enough for your parents. This is about your life, and making the most of it and living it to achieve your potential. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a Class 12 (ICSE) student with a variety of interests. In particular, I am interested in fine arts, writing and psychology. However, when it comes down to choosing what I can study in depth; I am highly confused. My parents are suggesting to me the fields of engineering and medicine. However, I have no interest in these fields as I do not want to have a career in the ‘well trodden path’, despite it being a lucrative and intriguing option. I want to have a career that is unique and also pursue something that would take me down that path. In this light, how can I narrow down my interests to form my career? Also, is it possible to merge my interests? Please guide.
A confused student  

Dear Student
It may help you to go to a career counsellor who can help you map your interests and aptitude to career options. Unfortunately, I do not do that. It is possible to merge interests and arrive at a path that you want to create for yourself, but I think talking to someone individually about this will be more helpful than a generalised answer in this column. Find a path and go down it because you like it, you are good at it and it can help add value to yourself and the world. Don’t go down a path because someone is telling you to. There is much to be gained to spend some time in soul-searching and self-analysis to help you arrive at a chosen path. All the best.

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