Enrich Your Life Skills & Career
Dr. Jitendra Nagpal
Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable our youngsters to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. These 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
Question. I am 19 years old about to complete 1st year in college. I am definite about my career prospects but there is a problem about my social interaction. Contrary to my school days, I have very few friends and feel that nobody understands me or wants to be close to me. I am feeling low, very moody and even started avoiding these friends. What should I do?
Answer-Good that you have perceived the transition so well. You have moved from the structured social environment of the school to the more anonymous and vast world of young adults. While it is surely a period of greater independence, getting on your own feet and making a mark, it also involves a sense of leaving behind all that was light hearted and relatively less complex. A lot of youngsters can experience a strange sense of loss and brooding about how things will never be the same again. They feel the pressure to move on to the business of the young adult world. It would be helpful if you understand that you are not alone and that a lot of your friends are also going through this transition and turmoil. Remember to share your feelings and confusions with a least one or two of your close friends or even family. You would be pleasantly surprised that a peer perspective will give you a lot of reassurance and strength. Good luck for all times.
Q.I am 18 years old and started attending college for the past one Year. I always feel a lack of confidence and am unable to face and talk to others. Recently I became very conscious when confronting my seniors in an altercation and I feel that people ridicule me often. Please help me become more confident and be able to handle people.
Answer- Firstly, if you feel there is any ragging, report to higher authorities if it is turning bitter. If it is in good humour and not hurting anyone, be sporting. You can build up the self confidence, even if you have lacked it since childhood. You must know that often each of us lacks confidence in some areas of life.
A few strategies will help you. Make building self-confidence a habit and that means practising a lot. The more it becomes a habit, a practised skill, the more secure your inner self will be when you really need it. You must know that often each of us lacks confidence in some areas of life. Flexibility and confidence go hand in hand. Making the most of your learning from mistakes will go a long way. Being kind to yourself and learning to do little but do it well is a key strategy for building self confidence. Problems with confidence boosters are often rooted in a bad habit of punishing ourselves. If the habit of self negating is reversed gradually, you learn to treat yourself right and your confidence grows stronger.
Q I am an 18- year old college-going girl. Somehow I lack in self- confidence. Since I was a child, I was not good in studies, my teachers did not like me and I had very few friends. Gradually I was able to improve my performance in academics and also enhance my public speaking skills. Now I don’t feel hesitant in talking other people. Still, I am very poor at accepting challenges. Although I could not develop a strong positive attitude within me but I seem to have become assertive. Please advice, how can I remain firm and assertive and keep my identity and self respect?
Answer-There is nothing wrong in the way you are. It’s a great quality to be assertive and having an attitude does not mean that one is rude to others. Also, confidence needs to be seen as an understanding of the self and accepting one’s limitations alike, and continue working on them. Assertiveness is a state where you are able to respect other people’s feelings and at the same time, you do not let others do any harm to you. Assertiveness is a skill that can be learnt, and sessions with a counselor would help. Solutions to problems are not custom-made or packaged. You have to try and understand a situation and then put in effort and work with our own circumstances and reach the best solution. In counselling, one can take help to explore these areas.
To be confident, start with appreciating yourself, focus on your positive points, try and achieve those things that you can, give importance to family and social network, and take care of yourself. Take charge of your life and be the way you would like to see yourself. Good Luck!
Q I am an 18 year old girl and will be joining college soon. Since my admission I keep having fights with my parents over what I wish to do in college. I am not too sure about the social interest in college life and course that I have chosen. Now I am getting very scared about how I will handle college life, especially interaction with boys as I was in all girls’ school throughout. What if I don’t do well in my studies, or I don’t get along with anyone. I feel seriously apprehensive. Nothing seems to be working in my mind. Please help.
Answer-Starting college is a huge step in life and everyone wants it to be perfect. So it is completely normal to have worries and apprehensions about it. And in such a situation, when you are feeling miserable, it usually helps to talk to someone about how you feel. The other person doesn’t need to give you advice; in fact, it is often better if they don’t. They may not have all the facts and you may not want to share all the facts either, but their opinions will be helpful and they can help you see the perspective more clearly. You can have a talk with whoever you are more comfortable with, about what’s bothering you. Share your worries about upcoming college life with your parents. As you and your parents have different opinions about how college life should be, talking to them may seem difficult and initially they may disagree or even get angry, but when they see that you are unhappy and worried, they will be on your side and will want to help you.
Coming to your apprehension about interacting with boys, isn’t it natural. Well, you can start with interacting in groups and treat them like any other friends, than just boys or men. Eventually, you will be comfortable about individual interactions with boys and you will feel at ease around them. So just relax and look forward to, which can be the best phase of your life.