Looking for a bridge over troubled water? Krithvi Shyam, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties.

I am a happy-go-lucky person. Things that are apparently "serious" like my average exam scores, a career and CV-enhancers don't seem like a big deal to me. I don't take that extra effort which my parents and teachers seem to think necessary. I am just confident that I will do well with what I can. Since everyone around me is always worrying, I am now wondering if I should be worrying too. What do you think?

CAN’T BE BOTHERED

The best example of a successful happy-go-lucky person that I can think of is Tom Sawyer. This is not a good sign, because (a) he’s a fictional character and (b) even if you modeled your career after him, the fence-painting industry in India isn’t exactly booming. As a thumb rule, if everyone else is worried, you probably should be too (the only exception is during exam time, when you’re accosted by that annoying student who has set off a panic by asking others whether they’ve studied the chapter that clearly wasn’t part of the portions). It’s good to have confidence in your abilities, but a lax attitude, may result in your losing opportunities to other candidates with same abilities as you, but with higher marks and a better skill-set. In today’s world, grades and additional skills are essential to set you apart from the rest of the crowd. So, I’m not saying you should drown yourself in worry, but do channel your confidence into accomplishing small, achievable goals. It will ease the pressure on your parents and teachers, and it will give you something to feel proud of.

I am a 19-year-old bookworm, happiest when reading. But many of my classmates don't seem to approve. I am constantly hearing snide remarks about how I always have my nose in a book, how I don't watch movies or listen to music that they like. Why can't they accept me as I am? Is it wrong to be a non-conformist?

BAFFLED BOOKWORM

Have you told the students that you are hurt by their remarks? If not, then you could bring this up the next time they do it, and the problem might resolve itself.

You have another year or two of college left to go, and you don’t want it to be unpleasant. It’s not wrong to be a non-conformist, but staying away from popular topics altogether will alienate you from your peers. Supplement your current interests with the stuff that you don’t particularly enjoy (but the rest of the class does). It will be tedious, but think of it as homework and persist at it; this will help you develop the indispensible skill of “making small talk”.

So, the next time you are around people, instead of reading (bookworms, it’s rude to read in front of non-strangers unless they’ve got their own distractions too), suggest that you all go for Maatraan together; just google Suriya beforehand!