Life after Graduation


Life after Graduation


your avatar   Dan, 22-year-old woman

I am a graduating student. I am a future teacher. My parents keep pushing me to get a permanent job as a senior high school teacher. I am under pressure because they took money away from me so that I will find a job. I am too stressed out because I am not yet ready to be a teacher. It is because I have not passed to get my license yet. I am very nervous because I have testing issues. I failed all my attempts of the college entrance exam. I am worried that I will fail again and it will be humiliating for me because it will affect my alma mater's pride.

How should I overcome a fear of taking tests? How should I avoid belittling myself? How should I develop my self-confidence? I am scared! Help please!


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Dan,

From your cry for help, it seems to me you have two problems: lots of anxiety, and worrying about what other people think of you.

This is not something we can overcome through a single email. You can fix these problems, but it will take work. If you can get someone to help you along the path, it will go easier. I expect that your college has a counseling service. Contact them, or find a psychologist privately. Somewhere between 4 and 20 sessions should help you to turn your life around. Even the upper end, 20 sessions, is less than 5 months, and has a good chance of making you feel strong, in control, and confident for the rest of your life.

You will also benefit from reading my little e-book, "Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias." You can find it here. For a few first-aid measures, read

If we were having our first face-to-face session, I'd listen to your story about yourself, then I would ask you to list all your GOOD points. Even in your short note, I have found several. See if you can find what a stranger would see as good things about you in your words, and start there.

The difficulty in tests does not lie out there, in the tests or in the situation, but in your reaction to them. This gives you power to change. "I have studied well and know all the material. I know how to do this. So, it doesn't matter what the result will be -- I will just go in there and do my best."

If you were not so worried about failing, you would easily pass, right? So, you can reduce your worrying by simply doing the test as if it was a practice session.

The great writer Rudyard Kipling wrote a story about an apprentice diamond cutter. He would graduate to master craftsman if he did a perfect job in cutting a rough diamond while blindfolded. His trainer blindfolded him, gave him something, and said, "This is a piece of glass to practice on." The boy did a perfect job. But the trainer had tricked him: it was on a diamond, not on glass.

This is the trick you need to play on yourself.

Have a good life (you can),


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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