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

I am in the first year in a prestigious engineering college in Chennai. I was a very bright student till Std. X, but scored very poorly in Std. XII. Initially in college I was happy and ambitious, but when the subjects started getting tougher, I took small breaks by watching sitcoms. Every time I tried to study, I had a hard time focusing and also found it tough to understand the subjects due to which I got depressed and tried to focus on other things to relax in the belief that I would do better next time. Now I have three arrears in my first semester exams. But I tried to straighten myself out at least for the sake of my parents, who paid a huge sum as capitation. Unfortunately, my father criticized me for wasting my time on the PC. My mother understands me, but doesn’t take my side or give me a meaningful solution. My therapist does nothing except prescribe pills (which have no effect).

I am very lonely and don't have any friends. I feel like the whole world is against me. I know that I am the main culprit here, but am tired of carrying my sins and related problems on my shoulders. – Off Track

It’s not clear which year of college you’re studying in, but one thing’s for sure, your main challenge right now is to overcome procrastination. While it is tempting to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory before getting into “study mode”, it’s very easy to lose track of time and then feel guilty. To ease your guilt, start finding ways to study productively. Go to a library — without a laptop or access to the Internet — and study there, instead of at home. Prepare mock tests for yourself and take them regularly (and seriously), so that you can monitor your progress. Speak to your professors and see if there are any research projects you can involve yourself in to boost your CV.

About your therapy, if you find that your treatment isn’t effective, give this feedback to your therapist so that you can work together to see what will yield results. There’s no need to contemplate extreme measures. You’ve recognised where your problem lies and you’re taking steps to get help; that’s half the battle won. So do not feel bad; you’re not the first student to have wasted time procrastinating, and you certainly won’t be the last! If you act now, you still have time to work on turning things around in your favour.

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