The last mile | education | Hindustan Times
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The last mile

Like athletes, students too need that final burst of energy for the exams. A runner and a mountaineer tell you how to do it

education Updated: May 04, 2011 09:33 IST
Pankti Mehta

School exams are over but many students are taking for a host of competitive tests. Such a spread-out, demanding schedule can lead to exhaustion and cause students to give up serious studying at this crucial stage. Sportspersons identify with that feeling well and can teach students a few things about how not to lose tempo.

“I tell my students to take one goal at a time,” says Ajit Singh Shobhawat, diving and long-distance swimming coach. “Show yourself you can pass through one more metre, then one more, and so on. The same can be applied to chapters.”

Self-motivation is very important, say athletes. Think of the rush of having finished your race – and having given it your best shot.

“The rush of seeing the finish line will have your adrenaline pumping,” says Shobhawat. “Remember you’ve come into the race with a do-or-die attitude, and follow through with it.”

Remind yourself that it’s just another exam, and will get over soon. Psychologist Namrata Manjaramkar says, “It’s natural to be frustrated, but muster the determination to achieve the self-respect that you desire and deserve.”

‘Imagine the feeling of completing the challenge and take one step at a time’

Rajeswari Kesavan, multiple-time marathon runner from Mumbai
I think it’s all about enjoying what you do without getting too worried about the result. Funnily the outcome is much better when you are less worried about the consequence.

Usually when I start the run, it starts great — but as I cross the 60-70% mark, I start feeling a pain in my legs — and sometimes wonder why I’m doing it.

But if you enjoy what you’re doing, you should go ahead, without worrying about the result. This way, even someone who is an amateur runner can really complete long distances without too much of a struggle.

Visualising a positive feeling, like the adrenaline rush of running past the finish line, is what keeps me going. I don’t allow my mind to psyche me out. I just keep telling myself that I have to do this. Imagine the feeling of completing the challenge you’ve set for yourself, and just take one step at a time.

You’ll muster up enough courage to race to the finish line.

‘I started to give myself smaller goals. If you look at the journey as a whole, it’ll scare you’

Arjun Vajpai, Class 12 student and youngest Indian to scale Mt Everest
For both mountaineering and the exams, you need a good deal of both physical and mental fitness. At about two or three points during my climb, I felt my legs become so heavy that I thought I couldn’t take a single step further. I wanted to give up and just go home, having achieved as much as I could. I started to give myself smaller goals, challenged myself to take five more steps. And once I did that, I told myself I could take the next five, and then the next. If you keep the bigger picture in mind, it will scare you enough to psyche you out.

I kept focusing on the view I’d get from the summit, and the fantastic feeling of having made the achievement. I was living my dream, and I wasn’t ready to give it up – even though I was so exhausted that I wanted to! The same goes for the exams. I’ve studied for months, even years, working towards this, and I don’t want to mess up the last few days over laziness.