I suffer from nightmares related to my study

I am in Class XI and a JEE aspirant. Due to the pandemic our Class X exam results were delayed and hence the upcoming session, which resulted in a loss of time for my JEE exam preparation. I am left with just a year for the preparation. I hate online classes as I learn 0% from it. I was one of the toppers in Class X but now I don’t think I can make it. Recently our tests and exams were taken online and I know I did not perform well. My parents bought me a specialized online coaching package, but I am not performing well even then. I have changed my school because of my father’s job and I hate the place in which we live now. My father has so many visitors that the whole day is wasted in serving outsiders. I get no time for studying as my mom tells me to do household chores. I think because I am a girl they treat me like that. I wish I was a boy because then I would never have to do all this. I even suffer from nightmares related to my study. I don’t think I can crack JEE if the situation remains the same. I want to go back to my school and to the place I lived in before. I often end up in tears when I think about it.
Meena (16)

Dear Meena,

Sounds like you just hate everything that is happening to you. You feel powerless, out of control and a failure, and you’re ready to give up. Yet, when you are rock bottom, you can only go up.

You can choose to look backwards at all the things that have not worked, label them as terrible, play a victim, pity yourself and spiral into despair; OR you can look forward to your future, label your challenges as opportunities to grow, be a ‘growth-mindset’ person, and make things happen. The truly successful people in the world went through tremendous tough times before emerging winners.

If you want to win over yourself and your mind:

a) Accept the new place and school. A growth-mindset person can grow where planted. What if you were stuck in an IIT and this situation arose?

b) Set boundaries: If your priority is studies, set aside time slots to study and tell everyone not to disturb you then. Be firm. Set aside a different time to help your parents.

c) Inspire yourself: Find ways to encourage yourself towards your JEE goal and success. Examples: A vision board on the wall. An image of yourself with a medal saying ‘JEE’. A voice recording to play when you’re discouraged.

d) Sort your study difficulties: Your feelings of resentment prevent you from focusing. Rewire. Online learning can be recorded, played back a million times, is in small chunks and there are a thousand references for a topic. If you’re missing company: Phone a friend. Teach another. Video call an expert (teacher). Get a study buddy or group. People are often happy to help.

Even one second ago is the past. Work in the present to create your future.

Nasreen Hashambhoy
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Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.