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Thursday, 5 January 2017

This Too Will Pass - Ask your counsellor Q&A Column

[The following column written by me was published in the Deccan Herald Education page]

Are you ensuring the environment you are trying to study in is conducive to your being able to concentrate.

Dear Madam,
I am a second year B.Pharma student and have an aggregate of 58% in the first year. I would like to pursue my Masters abroad, but I am scared I may not be able to do so because of my low marks. I am trying to study hard but get distracted easily. Could you suggest some ways in which I can concentrate on my studies?
A concerned student

Dear concerned student

Try and understand what is distracting you. Is it that you worry about the future? Or is it something else. What kind of environmental conditions help you to concentrate? Do you like silence while you are studying or do you like to turn on some music? Are you ensuring the environment you are trying to study in is conducive to your being able to concentrate? The Pomodoro technique is a technique that works well when you are facing problems of concentrating. This technique asks you to work in small time chunks of 25 minutes each, taking a short break of two to three minutes between each block. Try it out and see if it works for you. You can read more about it online.

Dear Madam,
I am a teenager with lot of interests. I grasp subjects easily, but am not able to achieve perfection in languages. I have interest, but I lack concentration and can’t do hard work. My problem is that I get bored easily and can’t sit in a place for a long time. I don’t even waste my time by watching TV or playing video games. Please suggest a good path and help me improve my attitude.

Dear Rakshit,

Don’t strive for perfection, strive for learning and allow yourself some mistakes, because without mistakes there is no learning. Also, strive for enjoyment in the process. The pursuit of perfection is futile and can take a lot of joy out of living and learning, often without you even realizing it. If you are fortunate enough to be able to grasp subjects easily, don’t feel pressured to necessarily have to study all day. Everyone needs different amounts of effort. There is no one-size-fits-all rule, and each person has to arrive at a formula that works best for them. If you have finished your work and are not working for some time, it is okay to relax a bit and watch some TV or play a game. The important thing to remember is to stay in control of yourself and your time and make the right choices. Hope this helps.

Dear Madam,

Sometimes, I am filled with a sense of dread and disappointment. At times, I feel that I lack purpose. Despite trying to engage myself in doing something positive, I am unable to shake this off. As a result, I am unable to do anything at all and my day-to-day work gets affected immensely. I also find myself being alone and distant from everyone. What can I do to engage myself more positively with my work and surrounding, and become proactive?
A worried individual

Dear worried individual,

It is hard for me to assess in this letter on what thoughts, and beliefs may be interfering with your ability to work to your potential. It may be very helpful for you to take the help of a counsellor to understand yourself better. You can reach out to the free Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 080 65333323 for counselling support, in case you do not have access to a face-to-face counsellor. If you are recognizing that you and your work are getting affected, there is nothing like some help from a counsellor to get you back on track. All the best.

Dear Madam,
I am a girl in Class 11 in a prestigious school. There is a guy in my class I like. I know he likes me too. But we have never spoken to each other. I can’t stop thinking about him. Because of this, I can’t concentrate in classes also. I feel this might affect my academics. I want to talk to him and be friends with him. But I also want to do well in studies. Please tell me how to approach the situation. 
Worried girl

Dear worried girl,

The more you make it out to be a big deal, the more distracting it will be for you. If you want to talk to him, just go and talk to him. It is not a crime or a taboo. He is a classmate and you can talk to him just like any other classmate. Wanting to be friends with him and wanting to do well in studies are not mutually exclusive situations. It is up to you to be in control of yourself, your time and your priorities. Once you have spoken to him and realized that he is just a normal classmate like everyone else, it will be easier for you to concentrate and focus on what you do.

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