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

I am in Std XII and I have not been able to perform that well. I had scored 98 per cent in Std X without putting a lot of effort. My family, teachers and relatives expect a lot from me. I am undergoing a huge amount of pressure by nobody other than myself to perform better but am still not able to. Now my family and teachers have stopped supporting me because my performance is not up to the mark. How do I get back their as well as my own confidence in myself?

Pressured

If your family and teachers are expecting you to push yourself harder than a 98 per cent in XII, they deserve the harshest form of punishment: trying to study for the XII exams themselves all over again. However, if your performance has fallen dramatically since the X, you need to understand what the cause of it is. Is it because you haven’t been preparing adequately? Or are the exams generally so difficult that everyone in class is uniformly performing worse than they used to? If it’s the latter, then there’s not much you can do short of attempting to change the question paper yourself; but if it’s the former, then it’s time to increase the amount of effort you’re putting in.

In any case, I’m not sure what you mean when you said you had lost the support of your family and teachers. Usually, high scorers constantly have teachers and parents behind them encouraging them to maintain their momentum (and inadvertently heaping more pressure on them). It doesn’t make sense for your supporters to suddenly drop you like a hot potato just because your grades have slipped (if anything, that should be prompting them to pay more attention to you!). If your parents and teachers are just saying that they’d like you to do well, but not explicitly pushing you (“No tv! No internet! Study six hours a day! Grrrr!”), then I don’t think it means that you’ve lost their support; they’re probably thinking you’re doing fine and don’t need the extra push! Maybe you should talk to them and understand what their expectations are, and also perform a reality check to see if you can meet those expectations (and if not, discuss with them about how you can reach a compromise).

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