"What next?" is a question that a student may ask when nearing the end of school or is just out of school, but it can make any of us feel stuck at any point in our career. Our society is becoming more and more competitive and there's pressure to perform and stand out in our peer group. Performing amongst high expectations can be difficult and make us lose touch with ourselves. We may forget what we really would like to do and can excel in and may end up following someone else's dream. Understanding self, identifying our strengths and setting realistic goals can help us stay upbeat and improve our chances of succeeding.
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Be it burning the midnight oil or last minute cramming, these experiences are a part and parcel of student life. Low motivation, lack of preparation and planning, high expectations and competition from peers are some of the reasons why exams overwhelm us. It is good to pause, reflect and choose a path that will help us overcome the impasse and not just wait for the wave to engulf us.
Should we take the road less travelled or the one travelled the most?
Everyone faces difficulty in making the right choice in life. Making a choice involves integrating the following aspects: values, skills, interests and one’s own personality so we can identify what we can excel in and be happy doing. “When you love what you do, you don’t work a single day!”
Competition & Performance Pressure
The world today is highly competitive, and standing out amongst the masses can be extremely stressful. Unrealistic goals, unhealthy competition and high expectations have been identified as the causes of performance pressure. This can be extremely challenging, but by preparing, planning well and channeling that pressure into focused output can help.
We grow up in a society that measures us against our peer group before we even know it. Our well-wishers worry if they feel we are falling behind in learning, growing, doing basic things and so on.It can be helpful to draw inspiration from others around us. Finding reasons to feel good about self and focusing on the positives can transform the way we think about ourselves!
“What questions would the interviewer ask? What if, I stammer “. Even the thought about interview makes us shiver! But let this not stop us from performing well in an interview. Eliminate interview stress by following learning interview skills and practicing relaxation techniques.
No matter how well prepared we are, feeling nervous before and during placement process is common. At times this anxiety gets in the way of our confidence, leading to a sub optimal performance. It’s important to remember that placements are as much a test of nerve, as they are of our knowledge. First job is the beginning of a journey to discover our potential, not a destination.
Distraction is anything that prevents us from concentrating on one thing. We generally face concentration and retaining problems because we are focusing on many things at a time. It hinders our productivity and can hamper our careers in long run. Having a balanced schedule and staying focused can get us back on track.
There are often times when we find ourselves overwhelmed with the tasks to be completed within the stipulated deadline that we freeze & are unable to even start. At such times organizing, prioritizing & scheduling the most important task first, saying no to unimportant commitments, taking breaks & getting rid of distractions like social media can lead to productive output.
Adjusting to new environment
Along with the pressure of achieving excellence in academic performance, if there is an added stress of moving to a new place and adjusting to a new environment & people, it can feel all the more burdensome. Taking out time to explore the new city or country, making new friends & having a support system can help in tiding through this adjustment period.
Fear of non-achievement
In this cut throat competitive world, our achievements are seen as our measure of worth. We often equate accomplishments with happiness. Being the person with the highest grades, getting into the top institutions & having a high paying job are considered as the pinnacle of success. It’s the consistency in efforts, perseverance & faith in our abilities that help us achieve our goals.
The pressure to excel is magnified when we know our parents are also rooting for us to live up to their high expectations. In such times having their support & unconditional faith in our abilities can make a huge difference. Taking these expectations as a source of motivation can help us propel ourselves into achieving our dreams.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669