‘We can’t take it anymore. Our parents have told us to return home only after cracking IIT-JEE” “Sorry for being weak, and not showing courage, but I am tired now, no strength left,”- These are some of the excerpts of discussions with the students both boys and girls taking coaching in the famous institutes in the Kota city. The students come from across the country to prepare for hyper competitive Engineering and medical exams – they come from large joint families based in tier 2/3/4 towns or cities. They found themselves unable to cope in their new environment, with daily tutorial classes, and having to study for up to 18 hours a day. The coaching, hostel and living expenses are huge, many families borrow money to send their kids to Kota (one of the prominent cities for coaching). The stakes are higher for the students doubled with peer and family pressure to study or rather compete well.
The students are constant pressure of Board exams, entrance exams and these institutes impose competitive environment by bringing up students’ weaknesses making an average student bound to fail. The mental wellbeing of a student deteriorates so fast that it literally kills their sensibilities. The student burnout is caused by high rates of physical and emotional exhaustion, low self-esteem, struggle with their sense of inadequacy, self-doubt and testing personal achievement (scores, position, internal assessments) almost daily.
The breakdowns are all too common in the city, many students suffer from headache, fatigue and bed-wetting, suffers from blackouts, partial memory loss and occasional hallucinations. These are all symptoms of stress and depression of not achieving and failing in expectations; has led to large number of suicides amongst the students when they are not able to bear it any more.
If the symptoms are recognized on time, it takes months of therapy at a rehabilitation centre, and the involvement of their families, to restore these young souls. No matter how much we write or discuss on this topic, the families will keep expecting of their children to fulfil the dreams they never achieved. This is highly commercial field, people make money on children’s fear, emotions, aspirations and insecurities. There are several initiatives launched by these institutes to check on the well being of the students. However, the responsibility lies in us as a society as parents and families to take care of our kids and not burden them.