Editorial Articles

Volume-36, 2-8 December, 2017

Stress Among Students : Challenge Before Career Counsellors

Nidhi Prasad

Today, we are heading forward for the new Millennium development goals, it is time we must take the new challenges head on. These new challenges and goals are cropping up in addition to the previous ones.
In this scenario, it is alarming to know that by a study of World Health Organization (WHO) it is found that every 5th student from IXth standard to XIIth standard in India is under depression. This stage is adolescence which means to "grow up" and it is a transitional stage of Physical and Psychological development. Today, we are living in the fast changing technological age everything tends to change at a faster pace. The same effect is rubbing on to the human beings also, ambitions are rising as, they seek to become more stable in terms of social status and well-being, in doing this they invariably find themselves in a very uncomfortable situation which might be either due to peer, family or societal pressure, which often affects their overall development and can also put them under depressing situations.
To find out the Social impact of these depressing situations and its effect, particularly on the student community we conducted a limited survey among the students from IXth to XIIth and surprisingly depression emerged as one of the leading concerns, one solace is that 73% of the respondents felt that it is healthy and normal to seek regular Counselling.
It is further observed that, with the changing times the education sector has changed drastically. Every stream has plethora of options, in addition to the traditional career options, the options are so many that today the student is bemused and the parents absolutely confused. In the race of getting high percentage of marks to get admission in a "Good College" the students' potential is lost somewhere and she/he is struggling day and night. Continuously they are being pressurised and unknowingly an atmosphere is created by parents (particularly) and others who matter in life.
So the major challenge before the Career Counsellor/Psychologist is today not only to access the ability, strength, skill and intelligence to match and inform the students about the emerging careers in the globalization era and for that what skills, education and training is required?
The situation has reached alarming proportions so much so that it is felt that today the parents require more counselling than the student in order to save both parents as well as students from stress and depression. Unfortunately, even the teachers have made it to this list as they also put themselves under tremendous pressure for making their wards perform better, unknowingly both the teachers and parents tend to pass their own pressures on to the students, making them even more stressful.
It has also emerged in the survey that as soon as children reach the IXth standard, the phantom of "Board Exams" is let loose on them and they are scurried to the "Tuition Centres" without ever giving it a serious thought whether she/he needs extra coaching at all? In this melee even the students who actually don't need the "Extra Coaching effort" too are forced to go for 'Tuitions' it has over the years become the mind-set of the parents that probably by going for "Extra Classes" they will score more marks and show better performance, if not best, without ever thinking 'whether it is doing them more harm than good?'
We are not suggesting that they should not be provided extra help and guidance to perform better in the competitive world but should it really be required at all? And if yes in what way and in which area?
Now, how to find out that whether it is required or not is a "Big Problem". For this instead of making "Board Exams" a monster we should get the child Counseled by expert Career Counsellors/ Psychologists who will, by testing their ability, skill, capacity, capability, Intelligence and attitude will tell that what she/he would do better and in which area? They will also through their experience inculcate courage and confidence so that the student will herself/himself develop the understanding that what she/he wants in life and how? She/He will be able to know about herself/himself and for this a programme is introduced by us "Khud ko Jano" this will help her/him to face the competition in future, select right subjects when she/he reaches class XIth and go ahead with confidence with whatever streams she/he selects for herself/ himself.
A general perception (which is quite harmful in some cases) is that everyone around feels that it's easy to Counsel the children, no doubt they can, but a Career Counsellor/Psychologist is equipped with the right set of skills as well as knowledge. Thus the expert guidance at the right time will not only save her/him from depression but will also improve her/his power of understanding and this will really make her/him possess a composite personality to meet the challenges of the competitive world.
This is high time we need to work among the students/ parents/teachers so that the depression, which so far is endemic, should not become an epidemic.
(The author is a Counseling Psychologist ) e-mail :  nidhiprasadcs@gmail.com
Views expressed are personal.)
Image: Courtesy Google