My blog has moved!
You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, please visit:

Friday, 3 May 2013

Don't belittle any profession - Ask our counsellor Q&A column

[The following column written by me appeared in the Deccan Herald Education supplement of May 2, 2013]

Dear Madam,

I am a BSc graduate from a good college with a percentage of 53. I completed my BEd in 2012 and scored 80%. I had backlogs in each semester of my degree. I am interested in doing regular MSc Physics, but am scared of failing. My father has suggested that I do a correspondence course of MSc and my mother is telling me to do regular MSc. I was a good student in school. I don't know why I have become so poor in studies after my 10 Std. I have lost confidence in myself. I want to move further. Help me.

Ayesha Amreen.

Dear Ayesha,

You say you have lost confidence in yourself and are scared of failing. I have written extensively about the fear of failure in this column before and I would like to direct you to my article on the subject in my blog. You can find it at
You must name your worst fear about failure. What is the worst thing that will happen if you fail? Often when you answer that question honestly, you will realize that the thing you are most scared about, may be something that need not be that scary. It may be something that, even if it happened, you could survive and have a very meaningful life. Failure is just an event - an event that helps you learn several lessons. It does not have to be regarded as final, or fatal, but just as another learning opportunity. Failure is not YOU.

If you would like to do the regular MSc course, you must go ahead and do it. Don’t settle for correspondence because you believe you cannot do the regular degree. Do correspondence only if you have some better utilization of your time at the moment, and still want to go ahead with studying. Remember, you can and will be able to achieve anything that you set your mind to.

All the best.

Dear Madam,

I am 25 years old and have completed my PG in Social Work in 2011. I have no interest to work in that field. It was just the family pressure that made me join this course. I see no future for  me. I have lost confidence in myself. Please help me come out of this confusion.

Jerry Varghese

Dear Jerry,

I think you need to gain clarity for yourself on what you would like to do, and what you believe are your strengths and weaknesses. Choose a career that will leverage your strengths and won’t let your weaknesses come in your way. You may need the help of a counsellor, or a trusted adult, who will help you in this exercise. The greatest disservice you can do to yourself is lose confidence. Confidence is the fuel that takes you to your destination. So get clarity on your strengths, help that identify a goal or destination, break that goal into smaller achievable milestones (or stepping stones) and then just stay focussed on your path and go after it. It is not your degree that will get you success (or failure) as much as your attitude, your confidence, your self-esteem, your ability to learn and your creativity.

All the best.

Dear Madam,

I am studying Computer Science  (8th semester) in Bangalore Institute of Technology. I am writing this letter to you because I am concerned about my future. I got placed in TCS which, of course, is a great thing that has happened to me by God's grace. But I am not too excited about it. I could have been better given my college's reputation.

My parents are very concerned about my future and are suggesting that I take up further studies like MTech or MBA, but not M. Whereas my brother, who is a software engineer, is asking me to take up a job, but not in TCS. I am completely confused about my future. As a result, I am not able to concentrate on my academics right now.

So through this mail, I am requesting you to suggest the correct path for my future, and I am open to any suggestions you make.

PS: I love cooking and am deeply interested in hotel management but I know it’s quite stupid.

Dear Student,

As I have said in this column many times before, I am not someone who can guide you on what course of study you should pursue, or what company you should take up a job in.

From your letter I got an understanding of what your parents want for you, and what your brother wants for you. However, I did not hear you say what you wanted for yourself! It is good to take everyone’s inputs but ultimately it must be your choice. And it must be a choice made based on rational thoughts about your future. So while evaluating your choices, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and analyze your opportunities and threats. In short, do a SWOT analysis and see where it leads you. Remember, whatever path you choose must play to your strengths, and must fit in line with goals that you have set for yourself. Work backwards and ask yourself what kind of job you’d like, what path would take you there, and therefore, what steps do you need to take now to set off on that path. Life is not a train journey on which you are trying to run errands for your parents and your brother, and other important people in your life. Life is a train journey on which you are trying to get to a destination of your choice. So pick your destination. And regarding cooking or hotel management, there is no such thing as a “stupid” career. Do not belittle any profession! Pick what you are really passionate about. Everyone else’s satisfaction and happiness will follow.

Dear Madam,

I am a student of class 12 and I want to be a doctor. But the problem is I don't want to be just a doctor, I want to be a great doctor! I want to help poor people in all the ways I can.

For that I know I have to study and score well in both my Board and NEET.

I want to do my medical course in a well equipped, modernized university which is out of the country. Can you please suggest some universities where I can apply and how to apply.

I am a bright student but when I sit to study I often loose my concentration. I want to achieve something in life. I just don’t want to waste it. My parents have huge dreams for me. I want to live up to those. I want to do it. However, I am also a very careless person. I take everything for granted. Even my studies.

I want you to please help me in my concentration, and help me achieve my dream!
I want to also add that I sometimes get really scared that, what if my dreams just remain a dream. I also want you to help me to get off my negative mind. I want you to help me and motivate me towards my goal!

Rashmitha Devraj

Dear Rashmitha,

I love your passion and your desire to excel. It is great that you want to make a difference with the kind of work you do, rather than stick to mediocrity. However, for that to happen, it is not necessary that you study abroad. Also, I am not the best person to guide you either on which universities are good, or on how you should go about it.

What I would like to say though is this - don’t get overly stressed by the results. Ensure you maximize your learning. Because, eventually, to become a great doctor, your learning, not your marks are going to make the difference. Sometimes we feel so pressured by the need to get marks, and so fearful of not getting the maximum marks, that we are unable to concentrate and focus on the learning.

How you define your success and failure is your choice. Don’t let anyone else define it for you. No one can help you achieve your dream other than yourself. But you must ensure, that it is your dreams you are chasing, and not that of your parents. Also, remember that dreams are your own creation, and are not constant or static. They change and evolve as you go along life’s journeys. And just like you create them, you can also alter them. So it is not that if you don’t achieve what you dream of right now, you would have failed at achieving your dreams. Your dreams itself may change. Looking into the future is something we do to guide us along our journey; not something to make us so fearful that we are not able to function.

Also, remember, that if they are your dreams, then you are not answerable to anyone for not achieving them. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone, other than yourself.

All the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment