CHENNAI: When Rani* did not know the answer to four one-word answers in her Class 12 board exam paper, she panicked, as she was targeting a score of 195. Irrationally, she ended up crossing out all answers on her paper in a spur-of-the-moment decision. She is now being guided by the ‘104’ helpline to deal with the anxiety about the results, after her parents called them for guidance.
As tension soars among students and parents of those awaiting the results of Class 12 boards, psychologists say that opportunities are widening so much today that marks should not be the clincher for the next step. “We know that there is no difference between a kid who scores 90 and one who scores 95. This has to be accepted by the parents and students, they need to move forward with what they get,” advises Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, founder-trustee, Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre.
The disappointed students, she says, usually belong to two categories — the ones who want a 100 and get 95, and those who are scared they’d fail. “You need to understand and tell the children that this is not their failure, but that of the system,” she adds.
Parents, who are usually the ones with high expectations and anxiety, and should not take it off on their children, says Rajini Nandakumar, counselling psychologist. “Parents should set an example by being relaxed. This will put less pressure on the children. Both need to realise that anxiety is not going to help,” she says.
“Don’t talk about their cousins who are studying in the IITs and IIMs. It is very important for parents not to transmit their stress to children,” advises Dr Lakshmi to parents.
Students can explore career options based on their marks, skills and interests, say counsellors. Rajini recounts an example of an award-winning music director who uploaded his Class 12 marksheet online, showing the world that he had failed. “We need to show the kids more such success stories,” she says.
“Today, allied courses are aplenty. May be, the student will not get MBBS, but there are paramedical courses and several new options. Parents and children should sit and look at all possibilities,” says Hema Latha, a psychologist, who has been handling calls from the 104 helpline incessantly from frantic parents and students.
The 104 helpline that received around 1,500 calls last year, has got 8,000 calls even before results, this year, says Prabhu Das, marketing head of the helpline.