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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Don't let your fear immobilize you - Ask our counsellor Q&A column

[The following column answered by me appeared in the Deccan Herald Education Supplement of January 9, 2014]

I am a class X student. When I sit to study, I study only for a few minutes. I get distracted very easily. DHNS 
Dear Madam
I am a class X student. When I sit to study, I study only for a few minutes. I get distracted very easily. I think that I will do it after some time but ultimately the days pass. That leads to studying the whole portions before the examination day. This happens to me every year. Due to this my results are always below 80%. I really don’t want to face this mess in my Board exams so I want you to suggest me a solution for this problem.
A student

Dear student
What amazes me, and gives me a lot of hope, is that with hardly any effort you are able to get 80% marks. Can you imagine what wonders a little bit of effort can do? You need to be grateful that you are blessed with the intelligence you have, and make the most of it. Very often people need to put in a lot of effort to get to your level. You only need to put in the effort only to go beyond that level. That is a great place to be in and the choice to make the most of it, or to fritter it away, is yours, and yours alone. You owe it to yourself, more than to anyone else. So count your blessings that you have an option of chasing the sky because the only missing component is one you have complete control over – your effort! What are you waiting for?
All the best

Dear Madam,
I am a student of Class XI. I had scored 92% in 10th standard. But now it has declined to 40%. I don’t know what happened to me and my confidence level is almost 0. My aim is to become a lecturer in zoology. But I don’t like any subject nowadays. I really don’t know what to do in my future. Please help me madam.

Vidyarani Mahendrakar

Dear Vidyarani
It is important to try and analyze for yourself why there has been a sudden drop in your performance. Only when you understand the reasons for something happening can you take necessary steps to rectify the situation. Are you distracted by something, or someone? Are you not interested in subjects anymore? Are you finding them difficult? Are you not understanding what is happening in class and therefore not able to follow the material? Are you scared of your exams and the marks and the fear is immobilizing you, or are you feeling pressurized to perform and is that what is making it hard for you to focus. It is important to understand the reason to be able to address it, and for this you may need to take the help of an adult you can trust, or a counsellor. Once you know the reasons that are holding you back, you can work on addressing the issues involved.

Dear Madam,
I am studying in class 6 CBSE. I am average in maths and when I practise maths for hours my brain gets stressed and I fall asleep for a long time. Madam, please give me a few tips so that I can be stress free.

Akash vardhan

Dear Akash
As a 6th grader, my advice to you is to make stress your friend. Stress is not always a bad thing. In fact some stress is often good and necessary because it motivates us to put in our best effort to do better. It drives us to achieve our potential. So don’t look for a stress-free life, because it doesn’t exist. Instead look at stress as a helpful force that pushes us to do our best.

So if maths is stressing you out, it does not mean that you have to give it up because it is bad for you. It only means you have to try a little harder and put in a little more effort to get success in it. And maths is one of those subjects which immediately rewards effort – the more effort you put in the better you get at it.

Dear Madam,
I am an aspirant of civil service. I hail from Udupi and came to Bangalore in 2012 June for coaching from a coaching institute. Initially I was interested in studies and fully concentrated. As exams were approaching I lost interest in books. I stopped going to classes and was watching TV for hours together. As a result I lost in my first attempt. In 2013 June I decided to work as a teacher to reduce the financial burden on my parents and to manage time and money. It is almost two months since I have touched my books. I am confused regarding my optional paper. I studied in Kannada medium from standard 1 to 10. I am therefore scared that my essays may not be up to the mark. I don’t know what to do. Please guide me.

Sanjana Vasudeva

Dear Sanjana
Don’t let your fear immobilize you. Confront your fear, face it, and make fear your friend. Let it be your motivator to drive you to put in your best effort. What is the worst that can happen if your essay is not up to the mark? At best you won’t clear the paper. Which, in any case if you don’t put in your effort, you may not do. So instead of letting that fear immobilize you, let it motivate you to put in more effort in all areas, There is nothing that cannot be overcome with genuine and sincere effort. If you know that essays are your weak spot then take some extra help in that area – ensure you speak in English, watch English movies, read an English newspaper and books.

Also, remember, there is no weakness we cannot overcome – either by putting in an extra effort to minimize our weakness, or by changing our belief about the debilitating impact of our weakness on us, and compensating for it by focusing on other areas.
Good luck

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