Perseverance is key

Do you feel uncertain of a career option? Do you lack the freedom to choose a subject that you really want to pursue? Do you always feel low on self-confidence? Are you constantly doubting yourself? A Q&A column by Nandini Raman, practising counsellor and trainer, to assuage your doubts.

I am 18 years old, pursuing my first year mechanical engineering. I am not satisfied with the college. So, I will be appearing for JEE, to improve my scores and apply to better colleges. But, the problem is I am not prepared for the exam which is just a month away. Though I have studied hard, I can hardly solve questions. What should I do — remain in the same college but change the branch?— Aun

Dear Aun,

That’s quite a challenge that you have sent — you do not like the college or the branch. You can change the branch, but I am unsure of that as ‘the problem’ still is the college. You would like to move to another college and/or change the branch is what you say, but not preparing well for the JEE doesn’t quite make it happen, right? What would you want to do? Why are you pursuing engineering? Are you certain you want to be an engineer? You might want to take time and identify 10 good reasons as to why you want to do this course and only once you are convinced, please set yourself to attempt the JEE.

I have been hurt by my mother thrice a day since the beginning of this year (verbal abuse ). Her caustic words hurt me every time. As I am preparing for MBA, those words are distracting me from my goal. As I love her, I can’t ignore her by not taking calls. What do I do? — Asit

Dear Asit,

I gather that you are not living with your mother and are preparing for your MBA, living apart. Will you be able to take her first call alone everyday and tell her that you plan to study for a few hours and will call her once you finish the assigned portions? Perhaps, she believes it is her ‘duty’ to check on you.

You can reassure her that you will stay in touch by sending her regular updates through SMS/WA as and when possible; that will help break this unhealthy pattern that has been set and formed.

I do understand that you love her, but at the moment, her words aren’t encouraging and affectionate towards you and hence, keeping a safe distance till your exams get done, might help you stay focused and attentive.

Good luck and do well.

Your warm responses motivate me to write to you. I want to join the Army as an Officer, and I have been preparing for this coveted job for a long time. I cleared the written examination and worked hard then did tremendous hard work to mould myself according to the requirements, and this has made me rigid and stubborn about joining the Army. Now, I have been diagnosed with a disease which ultimately makes me unfit to join this profession. As a result, I am feeling disheartened. I know this is the reality and I have enormous opportunities in other fields. But, I am finding it difficult to digest this fact. I have completed a B.Sc. in Electronics. — Rahul

Dear Rahul,

Thank you for your compliment. It is indeed very sad to know that you are unable to join the Indian Army on medical grounds, especially since it has been your passion. I do hope your health is better, though.

It is indeed a huge ‘loss’ and you would need to ‘grieve it’ and come to terms that it will never come true. As per Kübler-Ross, there are five stages that one undergoes whilst dealing with ‘grief’. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Each one of these help the individual identify what she or he is feeling, heal from the loss and helps you cope with life. These stages don’t follow the exact sequence or timeline and they are not the same for everyone. It is a personal phenomenon to overcome grief and some people don’t even go through all of them.

Time is a great healer, and you will eventually feel better and be willing to talk, discuss this without so much pain someday. Maintain a journal and pen down your thoughts everyday, for a few months. It will significantly help ease the pain. Good luck, and may the best happen for you.

I am a UPSC civil services aspirant. I am also a working woman. I always set goals for study but not able to achieve them because I get distracted due to my lackadaisical approach. I don’t feel motivated to work in my office, but I cannot leave my job because of financial issues. Please suggest a way so that I can be regular in my studies. — Pooja

Dear Pooja,

How badly do you want to crack your UPSC exam? Is it a ‘need’ or a ‘want’? I appreciate the fact that you cannot leave the job and only dedicate yourself to studying full-time for this exam. But, without discipline, hard-work and consistency, a tall order like this is not only unachievable but also a mere romantic notion.

Try to keep a cut-off time at work where you finish all that you need to do, so that you do not feel guilty about leaving once you are done. The job rightly is a means to an end right now, but it deserves respect.

Do you have any other friends who are also preparing for this exam? If yes, try the ‘buddy system’ and study together a few days a week or on the weekends. You will need to be serious about this and make time for it. Alternatively, join a weekend batch of a reputed school that will help build your routine and discipline.

Disclaimer: This column is not a substitute for long-term therapy. It is merely a guiding voice. Some issues may need medical intervention.

The author is a practising counsellor and a trainer. She has worked extensively with students and young adults across a range of issues. She will answer questions sent to The subject line should be: ‘Off the edge’.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 9:44:25 PM |

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