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

I am a first year college student. I turned 18 last month and yet I don’t have any facial hair growth and this depresses me. While all my friends have long and stylish beards I feel like a kid amid them. Moreover, I used to score 90 per cent till Std VIII, but then I started failing in Math and in Std XI, started failing in Physics too. My performance improved, but again in Std XII, I began failing in Physics. I attended tuitions for Math, Physics and Chemistry, but still scored only 75 per cent. Every time I wish to achieve something, I seem to fail miserably. This is continuing through college too. I fail in Engineering Graphics and Math often. I look in the library and Internet for self-motivational books and read them, but they don’t seem to help me at all. Now I am fed up and want to kill myself. Please suggest a solution to my problems. - Almost Broken

It’s not clear if by “failing”, you mean actually failing or just not scoring the marks you wanted (I don’t think most people would consider 75 per cent as a failure!). You are still in your first year; this is the time for laying academic foundation and making friends, not for feeling suicidal over your marks and your looks. I know it must be hard to look different from your peers, but it’s unlikely that others are going to notice your lack of a beard and comment on it unless you draw attention to it yourself. People mature at different rates, and maybe your body is just taking a bit longer than others’. If you are very worried, you could consult an endocrinologist about it.

Meanwhile, don’t think about past performances and feel bad about your marks. Concentrate on the here and now. If you’ve identified specific subjects that you’re not doing well in, the first step to take is to meet your teachers and understand how you can improve. If the problem lies in making careless mistakes, then “practice makes perfect”, as the saying goes; however, if the issue is more fundamental, i.e. you’re having trouble understanding the concepts, then it’s perfectly alright to find extra help to boost your grades.

Relationships, office politics, peer pressure, teacher trouble... mail your questions to nxg.nextgen@gmail.com Mark "Good Grief" in the subject line.

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