Don’t underestimate yourself

Don’t underestimate yourself


Ask your counsellor

Dear Madam,

I am preparing hard towards Common Aptitude Test. I believe that my hard work would pay me in getting into a good Business school, but I am disappointed that my memory loss would bring down my expectation. Kindly suggest ways to improve my memory power. 



Dear Ranjith,

If you think you have a very short memory you may have to consult a doctor about it. You do get some memory enhancers, but before you try any of those please consult a doctor on the best path forward. Also, there are ways to assist in remembering things like using mind maps and mnemonics. You can find more information about this online. The important thing is that you seem to be putting in your best effort and that most often pays off.

All the best.


Dear Madam, 

My PU results have come and I tend to compare my results with that of my friends. I am sure this feeling will continue until I get admission to a professional college. How do I stop sulking about not being able to get into a preferred course or a good college? And I am also influenced by the perceptions of people around me. 



Dear Anju,

It is okay to compare your results for information on how others have done, but it is important to remember that your results are not measure of your worth. Others may have got more marks than you but that does not necessarily mean that they are better than you in the totality of things. Marks are only an external objective measure of one’s ability (because the world needs a way to rate people). What is way more important is your own internal subjective assessment of yourself and your worth, and I suggest you reach out to a counsellor to help you with this so that you learn how to process others’ opinions of you and your opinion of yourself. You have to discover your own strengths, leverage these strengths to your advantage, and believe in yourself and your worth. Your worth does not depend on what others do, or for that matter on what you do. It depends on who you are. And it is important to always keep this in mind. Everyone has their own journey and purpose in life. You have to be on your own journey and find your own purpose. In that, your paths may cross with others, but that does not have to define your path.


Dear Madam,

My friend has a crush on— one of our classmates and he is in a dilemma as to how to go about it. He shares everything with his parents but he feels guilty to share this with them. However, will this new relationship affect his studies? Kindly advise.



Dear Sinchan,

Your letter does not give me any indication of how old you and your friend are, and that is a key piece of information that is missing. My response to this question will most definitely be influenced by your age.

Having said that, I guess it is best for your friend to seek advice on his concerns and about his hesitations himself. While it is nice of you to want to step in and help in, there are some things people just have to figure out for themselves.

He could possibly be feeling guilty about talking to this with his parents if he thinks he is too young, or he considers an attraction to the opposite sex as something of a taboo. Neither of these is true. Attractions could happen at different ages and need to be handled in a manner that is appropriate for that age. And being attracted to someone is not a sin ­—it is a feeling and should be treated like that (which means by acknowledging its presence, accepting it, understanding it, and then figuring out what to do with it).


Dear Madam,

I am a high school student, and my parents feel that I am spending too much time on the internet and need to play outside with friends. But my friends are also busy playing video games and watching YouTube videos. Is it okay to spend eight to ten hours online during the holidays? Kindly advise.



Dear Manoj,

Spending eight to ten hours a day is a lot of valuable time. Think of what all could be done in that much time, on a daily basis. While it is holiday time, it is important to spend your time in a way that will make your life richer – whether it is engaging in some sport, or hobby, or interacting face to face with friends and family to build relationships, reading books, learning something new, engaging with a social cause, or anything else that could fit that bill. Even when online, it is important to consider what you are doing online. Are you spending the time on a mind-numbing activity, or as an escape from your reality, or are you spending it in a way that is allowing you to grow as a person (and there are many possibilities of that online as well). You are the best judge of how you are spending your time online. But it is important to remember that there is no escaping from the real world, so the sooner you learn to engage with the real world (in whatever manner) the easier it will be for you in life.

All the best!


Dear Madam,

I am a degree student living in a hostel. I have both girls and boys as friends. My hostel warden is not happy with my friendships and always gives me moral lessons on how we have to behave and what we need to do. I am not comfortable with this but I don’t want to confront her. I feel that moving out with friends is not a crime; also, it doesn’t come in the way of my studies. I want to make my view clear to her without offending her. Kindly suggest a way.



Dear Rina,

People have different ways of processing things that happen around them, depending on their world-view, their values and upbringing, their beliefs and attitudes. They are entitled to them. But they don’t have to become your reality.

Unfortunately, a hostel warden’s role is often viewed and defined as someone who can enforce discipline and ensure students are safe. She is merely trying to do her job, as she defines it. She is trying to cover her bases to ensure your safety. That’s her job. She needs to do it.

Your job is to ensure your safety and live to your values and principles. Ensure you don’t compromise on either of that. In the process, you can always have a conversation with your warden – but the conversation will only make sense if you are able to see her world-view and she is able to see yours. Don’t try and challenge what she is saying and doing, or use aggressive body language or a loud voice.

There is nothing to be gained by it. You should only focus on communicating your feelings when she does or says something that is objectionable to you.

Remember you cannot control what she says or does or thinks. You can only control what you say, do and think, and how you process what is happening around you, how much you allow it to affect you, and how you respond to it. And for some things, it may just not be worth your while to fight. You can agree to disagree. Both are valid points of view.