Reality Check

Reality Check

Dr Rajan Bhonsle is a renowned counsellor and motivator.

Manoj Khatri: How should students deal with stress in the run up to the board results and after that?
Rajan Bhonsle: The root cause of stress is "expectations". Invariably all children know well enough, how they have performed in the exams. If they keep their expectations realistic and proportionate to their performance, there will not be any surprises. Very often, in spite of knowing about how they have written their papers, children lie to parents about their performance. This happens mainly due to fear of parental reaction. As results come closer, they are filled with fear and dread being exposed. While this is happening, deep down they know quite well what the result is likely to be. Fear of parental reaction comes out of the previous experiences with parents. If the parents have been reacting harshly, children tend to postpone revealing the truth. If children want to eliminate the stress, they should have a free and frank interaction with their parents, about how they have done their papers much before the results. This will help the entire family to have realistic expectations. And when one has realistic expectations, then one is not distressed at the time of results.

Manoj Khatri: How critical is the role of parents in helping students cope with their results?
Rajan Bhonsle: Parents’ role is crucial. Parental reaction to results matters the ‘most’ to all children. If the child has taken genuine efforts and studied to the best of his/her ability, that itself should satisfy the parents. And it is necessary for them to convey this to their child in no uncertain terms, that they are happy with his/her efforts, and that the result is not going to matter much. Even in those cases, where the parents are not happy with the efforts taken by their child, they need not wait to react till after the results. They can very prudently convey their observation to the child and make it clear that they are not expecting any surprises in the result. This will eliminate stress at the 11th hour.

Manoj Khatri: How should students react to obvious comparisons with their friends who have done better than them?
Rajan Bhonsle: Students need to learn to accept and appreciate that their friend/friends have done better in academics than them and remember that academic excellence is not everything. SSC exams probably test their memory, writing skills and their understanding of subjects such as science, maths, history, geography etc. However, there are many more aspects to one’s personality that are not tested during the SSC exams. One may have the ability of artistic and creative expression, sporting skills, athletic efficacy, physical stamina, business sense, leadership qualities, social skills, capacity to love, high emotional quotient, and competence in areas such as elocution, acting, music, poetry etc. Respecting and accepting that each individual is unique eliminates many interpersonal and intrapersonal problems. Feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, superiority / inferiority complexes are all a result of not acknowledging the fact that each person in endowed with uniquely different qualities. While respecting the academic ability of their friend, they should respect the unique ability and talent that they are gifted with and proceed with careers where they can prove their worth.

Manoj Khatri: What would be your advice to students who are disappointed with their performance and feel like it’s the end of all hopes for a bright career?
Rajan Bhonsle: There are innumerble career options for every child. If you keep your choice narrow, there are more chances of disappointment. If you give yourself a wide range of choices and options, there will not be any disappointments. In every profession/career there are successful people and unsuccessful people. It is not the career that determines your fate, but it is your well utilized talent, genuine efforts in the right direction, perseverance, and a realistic foresight that leads you to success in ‘any’ career.

Manoj Khatri: Finally, irrespective of their grades, what is the best way for students to go about selecting their career paths?
Rajan Bhonsle: Students should expose themselves to people from different careers, engaging in discussions with them to understand the realities of that particular career, the path required to establish oneself in that career, the financial involvement, the current scene regarding the career, the growth potential, the time frame to establish oneself in it, the estimated financial returns, lifestyle accompanying that career and other similar issues. Such discussions with people currently engaged in that career will give them a realistic view. Such endeavours could be undertaken by schools & social organizations, by inviting people from different professions for detailed interaction with students. If institutes do not undertake such ventures, parents can arrange for their child to meet up with different people for such interactions.

Reality check for Students

  • Have "realistic" expectations from your results.
  • Results in SSC exam tests only a small area of your whole personality. So don’t judge your worth with your marks.
  • Don’t compare yourself with anyone. You are ‘unique’.
  • Keep a wide range of career options open and don’t harp on only one choice.
  • Be frank with your parents.

Reality check for Parents

  • Love your child unconditionally for who he is and not by what he has scored in the exam.
  • Strictly avoid comparisons, as each child is ‘unique’.
  • Appreciate his/her efforts and not the outcome (results).
  • Acknowledge the other qualities & talents of your child and encourage them.
  • Create a safe family atmosphere of free & frank communication for your child.
  • Do not ‘impose’ any career option on your child.

One Reply to “Reality Check”

  1. the article written by u is really good and i wish all the students and parents go through this article as this helps us to understand teh reality instead of living in high dreams and high hopes which once broken breaks many hearts…

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