“Do what the situation expects you to do” 23 May 2021
Q. I have been reading your columns on ‘The Hitavada’ newspaper for quite some time and they have been very interesting and helpful. Currently I am in a situation where I think I need professional guidance. It would be really considerate of you for helping me here. I was recently promoted to class 12(PCM). I used to be a good student and got very good results in class 10th. But in class 11th, with the pandemic going on and studies going online, I completely lost focus and interest in studies. For a long time, I was not taking these online classes seriously, but even after I started paying attention to the classes I was still not able to self-study and was lacking motivation. I knew I had to study but at the same time I did nothing to help my situation. I used to procrastinate a lot and in the end I ended up doing nothing. As a result, my 11th standard passed very poorly. Now class 12th has started and I can see all these things coming back. I really don’t want to repeat the same mistakes this year since I’ve got boards and will be giving competitive exams as well. I request you to give me some tips so that I can restore my interest in studies and not procrastinate and do better before it’s too late.
Ans. Thank you for your well worded mail which expresses the situation of a whole generation that is experiencing the similar truth. This will help the entire student community of high school. There are some philosophical truths to understand first. One truth is all of us as a human race globally in the pandemic are in a mode of ‘survival’ and not ‘thriving’. Hence these are abnormal times. Secondly, we can do nothing about it but ‘endure it gracefully’ and allow the time to pass. Thirdly, it’s a time for ‘adaptation and adjustment’ to the new mode of life. The huge dinosaur with a weight of 70 tonnes became extinct due to inability to adapt and the cockroach continues to survive due to its ability to adapt! Taking inspiration from a cockroach lets do what we are expected to do and not what we would like to do. ‘What does the current circumstances expect me to do’ is the question you should address yourself? The answers will lead you to do what you have to do. The second thing to do is to find out where are the points of discomfort for you personally. What de-motivates you? Is it the online teaching, the method of teaching, or your learning styles are different, or the lack of personal contact with the teacher, or the lack of interaction with your class-mates or the healthy chats with friends, or the atmosphere at home, or the lack of privacy and peace to study at home, or too many distractions at home, or lack of outdoor physical activity, or bad physical health or what? It is important to assess your life condition and find out the ‘pain points’. Then address them one by one and see if you can find solutions to them. If you cannot find solutions, can you adapt to them a little and make suitable changes? If self-study is a problem, seek help from a class mate for some sessions of joint study or seek out a tutor for coaching online. He will take a one-on-one class with you and clarify your doubts. Motivation is a continuous process of keeping yourself energised with good thoughts, positive emotions, a sense of gratitude for all the blessings in your life, and engaging in creative and happy activities. Find out how to keep yourself happy and engaged. Motivation is more internal than external, and depends a lot on inner controls. Studying is your duty, your ‘dharm’, which you should do as a matter of duty and discipline without emotion. A good singer or dancer or sportsman practices minimum eight hours a day with a sense of calmness of mind (with no positive or negative emotion). Maintain a sense of calmness, look at your problems objectively, have a ‘problem solving’ approach and do your duty with discipline! That is the mantra! You are already blessed with good intelligence and nothing can stop you from succeeding in your goals!