Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable our youngsters to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. Dr. Jitendra Nagpal is a Life Skills Coach. He is a developmental trainer in youth wellbeing and soft skills for the schools, colleges and corporate sectors. In this regular column, he will answer the questions of our readers
- I am 19 year old girl studying in first year of college. I often feel out of place when I am in campus. I have zero self-confidence and have trouble in facing people. I often feel dominated by others or mocked by them and I can never answer back or express my feelings about that. Please help?
Self-confidence is indeed desirable in maintenance of good mental health and wellbeing. To begin with, make a clear cut assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Nurture your strengths and make them a part of your personality. Take pride in your opinions and ideas. Don’t be afraid to voice out your opinions.
Learn to be assertive in order to avoid unnecessary domination. Ascertain your boundaries and communicate. Don’t hesitate to tell your friends when they trample your feelings or cross your boundaries. They will respect you for your honesty. Instead of staying in your comfort zone, fearing failure and avoiding taking risks be willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things. Aim for accomplishments rather than perfection. People with high self esteem tend to have better relationships with peers and adults, feel happier, find it easier to deal with mistakes, disappointments, and failures, and are more likely to stick with something until they succeed.
Sometimes a change in appearance helps. Let go of the past. You can shape whatever happens from now on and create a new, confident you. The nagging voice that tells you are not good enough, strong enough or smart enoug is the inner critic which is universal, in some it is quite persistent. If you repeatedly put yourself down, it will knock confidence right out of you. Drop self-deprecation. Learn to pick up and defeats the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence frequently remind yourself of all of the good things you have done. Spend more time with positive people who support you and make you feel good.Confide your problem to a close friend and he/she may be able to help you in communicating with others. Connect with supportive people and recuperate their interest in you. You will feel better.
Qs. My 18 year old daughter is migrating to Delhi from Gorakhpur for her college studies. Since I know her temperament, I am worried she will have a tough time adjusting with diverse population and the culture of a big city and also feel very vulnerable. I really need help for preparing her for her graduate studies. Does she need some professional counseling please guide me!
As Change is an integral part of life. Nothing remains constant ever. Yet the transitions from one stage to another are never easy, despite bringing with them a lot of positive challenges. College is radically different from school. On the sunny side, it is a carefree period of fun and frolic. It is the stage when your daughter will have her first taste of complete independence. There are different activities to participate, friends to make, and a whole new vista of opportunities to discover. But with this new and exciting phase of life beginning to unfold, encouraging your child to develop more constructive support systems in the new environment, by trusting oneself as well as others, should not be forgotten.
Your child decided to choose higher studies away from home . In that case, it will involve a lot of travel to and within the urban metro, which may take a little time to get used to . It is essential that you enrich your support to your child now. Do not let her feel either pressurized or anchorless. She may loathe a lot on departing the safe cocoon of school and step out into the world of college life. Explain to her that change is the only thing which is constant in life. Highlight the advantages of college life and the vision ahead. If she has a few friends, classmates, or other acquaintance, joining the same college the transition will be easier. Encourage her to talk to other students during admissions and interview.
Talking about issues like developing patience, sharing feeling with close ones, and accepting others without forming opinion or being judgmental too soon, can go a long way in equipping her to deal with possibly difficult social situations. Wish her good luck with continuing positive reassurance. Well if situation is really difficult, do take few sessions with a clinical psychologist.
Q- I used to be very good in studies and ambitious by nature. But I could not get into the college of my choice and now constantly I don’t feel like studying at all and seem to lead an aimless life. My scores in first year finals have declined because of which I feel depressed most of the time. Please help. Do I have a choice?
Of course, options are right there and plenty while one needs to acknowledge that life is not always fair. Sometimes we have to adapt with what we achieve and work through proactively towards what we want ahead. You have to realise that even though you are not in your choice of college, you have immense opportunity of attending and moulding your studies. Take advantage of this and if you continue with hard work and dedication, the name or brand of the college will be inconsequential. In today’s world what counts is how efficient you are at hard work rather than just the name of your institute or college. Like you said that you have always been ambitious, continue being so. Make small, achievable goals for yourself and improve on your self-image.
Till you don’t accept the reality and get comfortable with it, one continues feeling down and low and this may move to difficult situations in coping up if not tackled right away. Try to look at the larger positive aspects of this college like interacting with new people, making use of the opportunities provided by the college etc. Get all the support from your close friends and family who think highly of you for what you are. Life will always throw challenges; do not admit defeat so easily. Do meet a counsellor for any further help. Good luck.
Dr. Jitendra Nagpal