By Aashish Mishra Kathmandu, Feb. 6: With the high school (10+2) exam results out, the season of college and university admissions has begun. And with it, psychological pressure on students has too, said Saurav Poudel. Poudel, who is now preparing for the Institute of Medicine’s MBBS entrance examination following the publication of his results on Monday, said that he and his friends were reeling under the burden of their own expectations. “I expect myself to pass the entrance exams and get into the Institute of Medicine (IoM). I have dreamt of becoming a doctor all my life and I worry that I might fail to achieve this dream.” This worry has started taking a toll on Poudel’s health. He gets frequent headaches and is unable to sleep soundly at night. “I have lost my ability to relax,” he chuckles in honesty. Monika Dewan, who wishes to pursue computer science in her Bachelors, has not been able to face her family because of similar pressures. “Everyone is so confident that I will get into a good college and obtain a scholarship and that scares me. What if I am not as capable as they think I am? Will I be letting them down if I fail? All these questions make me nervous and anxious which is why I just stay away from my parents and relatives. It’s easier that way.” “The online classes of the past year were not really helpful. I have also not got to attend any entrance preparation classes. I am not optimistic about getting a scholarship. At such a time, my family’s confidence, even though they mean well, stings.” For students living in rural areas, the need to travel to cities for the admission tests also adds to their worries. “All the major colleges and universities hold their exams in urban centres which means students like me need to find a way to reach there, arrange a place to stay and return, all of which costs money; money that is hard to manage,” said Mandeep Shrestha, who is coming from Palpa to Kathmandu next week to try out for various Bachelors courses under Tribhuvan University. Such mental pressures are not good for adolescents which can have several consequences, informed psychologist Kusum Baral. “The children may have panic attacks, nervous breakdowns or even become depressed,” she said, adding, “Some may engage in substance abuse.” Baral asked parents to watch out for and help relieve their children’s strains. “Parents should see if anything is bothering their kids and talk it out with them. They should not bring up studies and exams every chance they get or bring up the performances of other kids as examples. Comparison is one of the least helpful things,” she said. Baral suggested guardians engage with their wards, make them feel accepted and help them realise that failure would not be the end of the world.