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The Pressure to Succeed

You know the feeling of just getting done with finals, finally sleeping in, and just existing without any stress only to be hit by the fear of results?

The fear of not getting above 90, the fear of doing worse than your friends, being considered the failure or the “dumb” one. Everyone has felt that fear at least once, but if we look deeper, where do these fears stem from? Well, to put it simply it comes from the people around us.

Indian society tends to have this unrealistic expectation that every child must be a straight-A student with 100s on every exam or test. In reality, they fail to understand that each child is different. Their learning styles vary and that affects how they learn in school.

But because of these expectations, children have this internal fear of being labelled a failure because they didn’t get the marks someone expected them to. We see so many cases of children running away or committing suicide right before the result day solely because of the fear of poor grades and disappointing the people that surround them. Children break their heads night after night, studying till the crack of dawn to ensure their grades don’t drop even by 1%. Parents comparing them to their siblings or cousins, neighbours boasting about their child’s achievements, and friends turning their grades into a competition, add to the growing fear and tension within them.

 These expectations aren’t just limited to your grades though. There have been countless instances of students being persuaded to choose a stream or degree they didn’t want merely because of the notion “What will people say?”. The belief that if you choose a stream other than science or finance, it means you’re dull or that you’re struggling in academics when in actuality you merely like history and sociology or the notion that a child will only be successful in life if they become a doctor, lawyer, engineer or businessman and don’t step out of these categories. Of course, times are changing, but these expectations haven’t completely dissolved yet. It has been ingrained into our minds to such a great extent that even if our immediate surroundings support and uplift us, the fear of being judged or laughed at lingers at the back of our minds, holding us back with a tightrope, not letting us step out of those bounds

These societal expectations will take years to change completely but that does not mean they haven’t changed at all. We’ve come a long way than how it used to be, and mindsets are changing slowly but for the better. Everyone’s choice matters and in the end, the only way you will be the happiest is if you choose what you want to do even if it’s against what society wants from you.  

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