How to Solve the 3 Most Common Problems High School Students Are Facing Today

FeaturedHow to Solve the 3 Most Common Problems High School Students Are Facing Today

Education around the world has evolved over the years and so have young minds.

But is our education system keeping up with the pace?

Even today, certain text books are full of myths busted years ago, and classroom dynamics are roughly the same as they used to be in the 1980s.

A few international schools are breaking the norm, but somehow, the larger puzzle still hasn’t been pieced together.

A great inequality exists in classes, and young students grow to become less confident, less interested in class, more worried about their scores, and more confused.

But to get things on track, we need to understand the 3 biggest problems that high school students face – and the solutions to them.

#1 – Lack of core skill development

While students might be taught how to mug up their words, theories and formulas, barely 10% of them are able to pass basic aptitude tests and apply what they learn. Important skills such as numerical ability, verbal reasoning and logical thinking are not developed well enough.

The solution: Imbibing problem solving scenarios and case studies early on into the syllabus. This builds each student’s core skills while encouraging lateral and critical thinking.

#2 – Not being heard

There is a lot of literature, cinema, news and advertising out there showing how students are not able to voice their passions. Certain subjects are being given more importance than others, while real talents and aptitudes are not being recognized. This must change.

The solution: Changing the approach towards students and how each subject is taught as well as understood. Encourage students to show what subjects they are passionate and have sessions where they can discuss the research they did on their favourite topics.

#3 – Lack of emphasis on communication

Just teaching English and other subjects does not make your student a good communicator. Students must be taught the importance of communication and how to make decisions practically. This will help them go a long way in their studies, projects and in life.

The solution: Making written and verbal communication exercises exciting and relevant with problem scenarios and role play.

If you still want to know how to begin the education revolution, visit www.vidyartha.com.

And if you’ve got more suggestions, please comment below.

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Teach your child the art of problem solving

Has your child taken up the Vidyartha assessment? If yes, you now know about your child’s  areas of interest, the skills they possess and the aptitude they require to pursue a higher education or the career of their choice. What’s more? You also know about the areas that they need to improve on. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll help you understand the different types of aptitude and give you a step-by-step guidance on how you can improve their skills and help them score better marks.

One of the types of aptitude is problem solving. Yes, you heard that right, we said problem solving. Most of you would be flinching at the thought of it because you associate it with math and numbers. But, problem solving is not just restricted to math, it is something that your child uses in everyday life. It is, in fact, a mental process—a way of thinking logically. You are using your problem-solving ability every single day to resolve things, make decisions and ensure that things go your way.

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What is problem solving?

Wondering what exactly is problem solving? It is defined as the process of recognizing a problem, defining it, identifying alternative plans to resolve the problem, selecting a plan, organizing steps of the plan, implementing the plan, and evaluating the outcome.

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Why is problem-solving important?

Problem solving is important because it helps students deal with academic, social and interpersonal challenges that they face every day.

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Myths associated with problem-solving

There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about problem solving. Some of the biggest myths are that it can only be used in mathematics, it cannot be learnt and that there is only one solution to every problem. You’ll be happy to hear that all of these myths are false!

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The problem-solving process

To make it easy for you, we’ve have broken down the problem-solving process into 5 easy steps:

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  • Identify and define the problem

This may seem obvious and unnecessary but you need to identify and define the problem before you start working on solutions. If required, write down the problem in your own words. You can also break down the problem into smaller, simpler problems.

  • Organize the information that you have

Write down the facts that you know and don’t know about the problem. This is important because the amount of information that you have about a problem will determine how effective or good your solution will be. You can also create mind maps to visualize the problem.

  • Form a strategy and come up with solutions

A strategy is nothing but a step by step plan about how you will arrive at the solution. You can make mind maps, create lists, make tables where you can group and organize data. This will help you see the problem clearly and organize and group data that is related to the problem. This will also help you arrive at the solution or multiple solutions.

  • Monitor progress

You need to monitor each step outlined in your strategy to ensure that you don’t get stuck at any level. This also allows you to change the plan or strategy if you see that it is not working or giving you the required solution.

  • Evaluate the results

It is vitally important to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution once you arrive at it. This is to ensure that you have got the best possible solution to the problem. Questions like” Are you satisfied with the results you’ve obtained?” and “Why do you believe this solution is an appropriate one for this problem”, will help you evaluate the solution or results in a better manner.

With this, we hope that you’ve got a good understanding of the problem-solving concept and how to go about the problem-solving process. Now, you can log into your child’s Vidyartha dashboard and take a look at their problem-solving scores.

Have they aced their test? Is their score average or slightly below average? Whatever their score maybe, there is always room for improvement. Their problem-solving skills is something that gets better with time, so they need to constantly work on it. Get in touch with the counsellors and learning mentors at Vidyartha so that they can help your child develop excellent problem-solving skills.

Are you taking the right steps to measure your child’s academic progress?

Are you taking the right steps to measure your child’s academic progress?

How do you measure your child’s progress in school?

We asked the same question to 500+ parents across schools and here’s what we found:

  • More than 60%analyse their child’s progress based on school report cards
  • Only 25-30% of the parents actively track the time their child invests in studies
  • A mere 15% of the parents get involved in understanding the child’s learning style

Experts say that the right way to measure your child’s progress is by mixing all of the above, in the following order:

Step 1: Understand and measure your child’s unique learning style

  • What are his subject level preferences?
    For example, he may hate Maths but love History.
  • What is his unique  learning style?
    Example: Does he prefer traditional methods like reading a textbook or does he like to watch videos or use the internet?
  • How much does he understand what is taught in school?
    What are the major problems or gaps in comprehending what the teacher says?

THE GOAL: To broadly understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Step 2: Track the time and effort your child puts into each subject

  • How much effort does he put into every subject?
    Students often get demotivated when they do not enjoy a subject or see no results in their exams and do not spend enough time on it.
  • What study techniques is he using to study each subject?
    It’s not just the amount of time spent studying that matters – it’s the quality too. Ensure your child uses enjoyable and interesting study techniques.

THE GOAL: To plan your child’s study calendar based on his strengths and weaknesses.

Step 3: Measure the impact of Step 1 and Step 2 in his exam performance – the report card

The report card is the final outcome. While you shouldn’t judge your child’s academic progress on the report card alone, you must ensure you track his scores after you have completed Step 1 and Step 2.

The right question to ask would be – Given my child’s unique learning style and the effort he has put in, how much has translated into his scores in each subject?

THE GOAL: To understand what factors help him score and how you can improve steps 1 and 2.

To know more about helping your child score, call us at 080-33013095 or write to us at support@vidyartha.com.

We would also love to know your suggestions and help in any way we can!

13 Must-Watch Movies if You’re Figuring What You Want to Do in Life

13 Must-Watch Movies if You’re Figuring What You Want to Do in Life

Science or humanities? Business or politics? We have movie suggestions for students of all interests. These should help you decide what you want to pursue.

For Science and Math Lovers

#1 – The Theory of Everything
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Adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking, the movie directed by James Marsh deals with the relationship between Jane and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neurone disease, and his success in the world of physics.
Watch the trailer here.

#2 – The Man Who Knew Infinity
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The movie is based on a true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, renowned self-taught Indian mathematics genius Srinivasa Ramanujan travelled to Trinity College in Cambridge and made friends with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor G.H. Hardy. He overcame the prejudice he faced to reveal his mathematical genius to the world and this movie shows Ramanujan’s story through Hardy’s eyes.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Tech Ninjas

#3 – The Imitation Game
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This movie is based on the life of Alan Turing, father of computer science. During the second world war, he was known to have cracked codes produced by the German miltary’s Enigma machine, which seemed unbreakable, using maths, engineering and yet-to-be-evolved computer science. But almost all documents tracing his work for the British government have been destroyed and nothing is known about his personal life.
Watch the trailer here.

#4 – Steve Jobs
22684666199_e42442eafd_bThis fast-paced movie offers a complete view of Steve Jobs’s life from 1984-1998, including three distinct product launches and plenty of flashbacks. Both his work and his personal relationships are examined through the course of the movie. The audience is left to judge the impact of these on his life as well as those of others who were close to him.
Watch the trailer here.

#5 – The Social Network
hqdefault_liveIn 2003, Harvard undergrad and programming whiz Mark Zuckerberg is struck by an idea and begins to work hard on it. Soon, Facebook is born and Zuckerberg becomes the youngest billionaire in history. But this accomplishment leads to both personal and legal problems for this entrepreneur.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Business Tycoons of Tomorrow

#6 – The Pursuit of Happyness
the-pursuit-of-happyness-2006-download-movie-free-full-hdThis story is based on the true story of a man named Christopher Gardner, who invests heavily in”Bone Density scanners” and feels like he has made these devices. But he is unable to sell them and as he tries to figure out how he can change that, he loses his money, house, credit cards and even his wife, who leaves him. He is then pushed into living on the streets with his son and takes on a job as a stockbroker. But before he can receive his pay, he must go through 6 months of training, and also sell his devices.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Historians and the Politicians

#7 – Schindler’s List
Schindler's ListGreedy and vain German businessman Oskar Schindler transforms into a humanitarian during the barbaric German Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Having managed to save 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, this true story is a testament to the good in all of us.
Watch the trailer here.

#8 – Gandhi
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Based on Mahatma Gandhi’s story, this movie showcases how British officials, including the influential Lord Irwin, ignored his non violent movements at the beginning. But then, that is just what earned their country the freedom.
Watch the trailer here.

For Aspirants in Humanities and Social Sciences

#9 – A Beautiful Mind
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Based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, the story of this American biographical drama film begins in Nash’s days as a graduate student at Princeton University. Nash develops paranoid schizophrenia and has delusional episodes, which brings much pain to his wife Alicia and their friends.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Lawyers of Tomorrow

#10 – Erin Brockovich
f100ernbrockErin Brockovich-Ellis is a woman in a fix. After a car accident in which she is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry to hire her at his law firm. Once she accidentally comes across a few medical records placed in real estate files, she convinces Ed to allow her to investigate and discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community that’s causing devastating illnesses among its residents.
Watch the trailer here.

If You Want to Build a Career in Sports

#11 – Million Dollar Arm
million-dollar-arm-welivefilm-movie-reviewIn 2008, sports agent J. B. Bernstein finds that he is unable to run his business well because of his competitors. On watching reality shows and Indian cricket games on TV, he decides to find cricket players in India and train them to become pro baseball players in America. After a long search, Bernstein finds two talented, but non-cricket playing young men, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. Together, Bernstein, Rinku and Dinesh strive to make their dreams come true despite the challenges they face. In the process, Bernstein finds a deeper humanity and forms friendships he never expected he’d have.
Watch the trailer here.

And finally…

To inspire you to believe in yourself

#12 – Taare Zameen Par
13oct_fm25-taarezameenpar01Art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh believes every child has a unique and has great potential. He teaches at a local boarding school and breaks all rules governing ‘how things are done’ or taught at school and every child responds to him with joy, except an eight-year-old boy named Ishaan Awasthi, who seems to be in a world of his own all the time. Nikumbh soon finds out that Ishaan is unhappy and with time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find joy in both life and learning.
Watch the trailer here.

#13 – Dead Poets Society
lead_largeA painfully shy young boy named Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his older brother was a popular student and valedictorian. His room-mate Neil Perry is bright and popular, yet under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, learn of “Dead Poets Society” from their new English lecturer, Professor Keating, who encourages them to go against the status quo. The movie shows how each of them does this and is changed for life.
Watch the trailer here.

Have fun as you enjoy these movies and learn from them. Let us know if you have more suggestions on what movies should be watched!

Do We Know How to Raise Our Children into Independent Adults?

Do We Know How to Raise Our Children into Independent Adults?
We want our children to be unafraid of ambiguity, make their own decisions and own up to the consequences of their action. But if it does not begin at home, they will never grow up.

Consider a typical Indian parent who teaches his/her child to obey and listen to everything they say. There is no room for collaboration with the child – the adult is right, simply because he/she is older! But we know only too well that wisdom and age do not always go together!

We often find ourselves making decisions for our kids because of the immense sense of responsibility we feel towards them. But what we really ought to do is guide them as they make their own decisions and supervise only when necessary.

That’s what we aim to do at Vidyartha, and sure, we’ve found it isn’t always smooth. We have constantly witnessed parents and adolescents having unending discussions about their learning choices, such as which subject stream to take in Class 11 or what college and course they’d like to get into.

Needless to say, we find very few parents who collaborate. They usually direct the child and make the decision for them. But why is that?

 a) Fear of consequences – Parents believe that children are likely to make decisions that result in bad consequences
b) Biases based on their own experience – Parents arrive at certain conclusions based on their own life’s experiences, which may or may not hold good for their children, who have their own distinct personalities, preferences and needs
c) Hearsay – The tendency to go with what the majority does is high in a country where society directs life
But is there always a happy ending? We’ve met plenty of people with regrets because they could not do what they wanted to – they were not independent, in the true sense of the term.

How do we make sure our children grow to become independent?

#1 – Have a conversation rather than make statements
Do we like it when people tell us what to do without listening to us? Your child is a human being with a unique personality, just like you. We need to have two-way conversations with them instead of making judgments and close-ended statements. In Vidyartha’s counselling sessions with thousands of students and parents, we have seen parents making statements that inspire no further conversation from the child’s end – “He is weak in Maths!” – a final judgement of the child’s potential. What you can say instead – “He may need help with Maths”.

#2 – Keep asking your kids what they think
When a parent says, “What do you think?”, he/she does three things:
a) Shows the child that his/her opinion is valued
b) Increases their belief in themselves
c) Instills a sense of responsibility

#3 – Discuss the consequences of decisions made
You and your child are bound to have different opinions. But instead of ordering him/her to do what you think is best, talk about the pros and cons of both choices. As the discussion progresses, you and your child may arrive at one conclusion – and that’s bound to be the best, whether or not things go wrong.

At Vidyartha, we strongly believe that your child’s future as a professional is determined right from school. And the largest influence is the parent!
After all, life is all about making great choices – let’s teach them to make it themselves.

This piece was penned by Priya Mohan, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Vidyartha.

10 Things That Need to Change About the Indian Education System

10 Things That Need to Change About the Indian Education System

Our country is changing everyday. In fact, areas such as economy and technology are so dynamic that they are growing at an overwhelmingly rapid pace.

Why then has the education system barely evolved? Why haven’t we seen any significant improvements?

Sure, the recent growth of alternative schools is a ray of hope, but let’s face it. Such schools are a luxury. Largely, the Indian education system continues to revolve around three things – science, mathematics and basic English – all of which are tested in age old formats.

All of us do know that the system needs to change. And at Vidyartha, we’ve made a list of 10 things that have got to see a turnaround.

#1 – Out with rote learning, in with skill-based education
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Every year, Indian teachers, students and parents are focused on cramming information. The best students are considered to be ace crammers. This is a fundamental flaw in our system, and the only way to rectify it is by teaching students skills. That way, we add value to them for a lifetime. After all, it isn’t knowledge when almost everything is forgotten right after the exams are over.

#2 – Valuing the teaching profession and getting smart ones
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Why do so many “bad teachers” exist? Why do most smart people choose other career paths? The answer is simple – teaching as a profession is not valued. That needs to change so that we begin to see more and more smart teachers. Teachers ought to be competent, inspiring and energetic, not the face that students want to avoid.

#3 – Help! It’s the grading system
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Evaluating students merely based their performance in a three-hour exam driven by mugging is not a great idea. What were we thinking? Parroting a bunch of theories don’t teach them anything about the subject. The axis of grading needs to be revamped to also include classroom participation, project/practical work, communication skills, leadership traits and extracurricular performance. It is only then that genuine talent will be recognised.

#4 – Embrace technology in education
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Sure, technology is just a tool – and it is ultimately the teacher that counts. But imagine what we can do with technology in the classrooms! It does not have to be full of hassles – that’s a wrong notion. What’s more, technology makes learning engaging and is thus a handy guide for every teacher. It’s no competitor or replacement – it just makes the teacher’s job more exciting.

#5 – Emphasise on creativity, research and originality
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Our education system usually disregards that factor which deserves the biggest accolades. Students are taught to mindlessly obey the rules and follow orders without questioning. Being different or taking risks is discouraged. Once our education system is built to recognize original contributions, problem solving, research and innovation, we can say that the Indian education system has successfully changed for the better.

#6 – Eradicate excuses for an external tutor
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With the rise in the number of children taking up tuition since a young age, brain drains, aversion towards learning and poor performance are common. If learning is revolutionised in school, there won’t be a need for all of this. Plus, the child gets a break!

#7 – Respect for all subjects, courses and careers
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How long are we going to keep being obsessed with engineering, medicine and MBA? Is it sensible to drool over the IIMs and IITs alone, when the diverse streams and fields we have are just as important? The moment we stop this discrimination, we can proudly showcase talent from across streams – and students’ lives will be much brighter.

#8 – Change the basis and methods of handling rewards and punishments
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We need to revise our basic values. Rewarding blind obedience while punishing students who are quick-witted and think out of the box is the worst thing we can do. Also, the modes of reward and punishment need to be relooked at. Corporal punishment is obsolete. Let’s look at students as responsible individuals and reason out with them rather thank talk down to or dismiss them.

#9 – Promote collaboration
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Teaching students to work together towards a common goal is the best thing for their future – because that’s exactly what they’ll have to do at work. It strengthens initiative, people skills, problem solving, strategising and leadership skills while promoting teamwork.

#10 – Personalise learning
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No two learners are the same. As cliched as it may sound: no one size fits all. Tailoring learning to suit each individual’s unique strengths, interests and gaps can make the process engaging as well as more effective.

And we are certainly evolving. Over 3,000 schools have taken a step in the right direction with Vidyartha. If you’d like to do that too, fill in your details and we will give you a call to tell you more.

Or give us a missed call at 080-33013095.

We’d also love to know if you have anything to add to this article. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

11 Traits that Every Software Engineer Should Have

11 Traits that Every Software Engineer Should Have

Being a software engineer looks like the coolest thing ever. Or maybe not. If you’re one of those who wants to become one just for the money, rethink. On the other hand, if you’re somebody who thinks software engineers are people with no personal life and barely existent social skills, you need some fresh perspective.

Check out these 11 key traits that are a must to become a software engineer who’s a cut above the rest:

#1 – A passion for technology
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A software engineer should be in love with coding. Doing some research on the latest apps or gadgets should be a hobby. If you are a software engineer, you’re valuable only as long as you’re abreast of all developments going on in the field of technology – and we know how dynamic the field is!

#2 – Versatility
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The ability to code in multiple languages and reuse and maintain code effectively helps a software engineer shine as an efficient employee. It is important for every coder to update himself/herself with new skills on a broader range as time flies.

#3 – Curiosity
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The best of software engineers are always never at rest when they think about why something is done in a particular way or when they think of how something works. In fact, this is a trait they have from childhood – usually breaking things just to find out how they work. Yet, they are objective about solutions. Putting together software is creative, and plenty of software engineers have artistic hobbies.

#4 – Vision
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There is no use developing code if it won’t be applicable in a few years down the road. As a software engineer, you’ve got to be a visionary and create code and libraries that are open to being used and reused in all code languages. Being able to see the impacts of current decisions is important so you can build great software.

#5 – Business acumen
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A software engineer needs to understand why what he has developed matters to the other departments and to the client. Only if they understand the business that they’re working for can they develop software with the desired features. Understanding the market and working towards scaling the product should be a key consideration for any software engineer.

#6 – Attention to detail
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If you’re someone who seeks perfection in every detail of your work, you’re already halfway there. Be serious about checking your work and you’re sure to become a software star! Remember, one silly error can ruin the entire system.

#7 – Discipline
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You might love your job and all the projects you take care of, but being sloppy is a huge no-no. Apart from attention to detail, it is important to stay organized. So much bad code is a product of those developers who don’t do what they know ought to be done.

#8 – Patience
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It’s natural for a few bugs to occur and for design glitches to delay the process you had in mind. And of course, you will have to deal with a variety of people who may not match your working style. But you have got to work towards the problem patiently. Nothing else will help.

#9 – The ability and willingness to learn
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A great software engineer does not know everything. Instead, he/she is always eager to learn more and capable of easily adding it to his/her vast knowledge base. Learning and adapting are core skills.

#10 – Problem solving
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Finding problems is easy. Pointing out what’s wrong with a system serves no purpose – a software engineer must think of different ways to resolve the issues found. They need to think on their feet and arrive at a variety of potential solutions to a problem and then work towards it.

#11 – Teamwork
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Myth busted! Coders cannot be socially awkward. They must be fully capable of working in a team with different kinds of people.

Got anything more you’d like to know? Let us know in the comment’s section below.

And sign up with Vidyartha to check out what you need to become a software engineer.

12 Signs that Scream Student Depression

12 Signs that Scream Student Depression

Dear parent, teacher, or student;

First things first. Before you read this article, we at Vidyartha would like to tell you that there is no need to be afraid or hesitate. Depression is not something to be shunned and pushed aside. The world is growing to understand that it is a problem that can be solved and it doesn’t reflect on your sanity or your capabilities as a person in any way. It isn’t uncommon to find adolescents facing a few problems as they transition into the next phase. Don’t let societal stigmas hold you back from getting things right.

Now that we have that clear, let’s see whether your gut feeling was right. Find out if you, your child, student or friend is depressed with these 12 signs:

#1 – Feelings of vacancy
Feelings of sadness, teary outbursts, thoughts of emptiness and hopelessness can signify depression. If you hear your child or student saying “I can’t do this, I want to give up” way too often, it’s a sign that he or she is depressed.

#2 – Making mountains out of molehills
People are usually contemptuous of that. But if you see a student expressing frustration and rage over the tiniest of things, don’t just scold them or laugh it off. It can mean that the anger is just a mask over the sadness that lies within.

#3 – Loss of interest in everything
Do they no longer enjoy the things that they used to before? Don’t shrug it off as “just a moody phase”. If they’re like this for too long, it may mean that depression has kicked in.

#4 – Trouble with sleep
Whether it’s insomnia or sleeping for too long, continuous trouble with sleeping patterns indicates depression.

#5 – Lack of energy
A very sad mistake most parents and teachers make is assuming that a kid is lazy when he or she shows constant slack at doing even the most simple tasks. But if this is a daily thing, the problem isn’t laziness. It’s depression.

#6 – Change in appetite
If you notice too many cravings or absolute lack of interest in food, depression has set in. Sometimes, you will be shocked to find him/her gobbling up foods he/she never used to like. Or maybe they’ll push away a dish they always loved. Weight gain or weight loss is a natural consequence.

#7 – Unnatural and persistent restlessness
Never get used to seeing them anxious, agitated or restless almost all the time. No, that’s not them “becoming more responsible”or “taking their marks seriously”. Constant fears and panic attacks symbolise depression.

#8 – Being way too slow
If their thinking, speech and movement have become a lot slower and duller than before, it may mean depression.

#9 – Poor self-esteem
Being plagued by guilt and worthlessness for no reason or for trivial matters show that they have a deeper problem than just “taking account for their actions”.

#10 – Cognitive problems
If you now find them not scoring as well as they used to before and if they have this new-found problem of forgetting things or being unable to think, they’re depressed.

#11 – Frequent negative and harmful thoughts
They might not have attempted self-harm or suicide. But the very act of thinking about such things constantly signify depression.

#12 – Unexplained aches and pains
Everything is alright, but they get sudden pangs of pain in their back, neck, head, shoulder or limbs. You get it checked, but there is no apparent reason. Well, the amount of pressure and sadness they’re facing can result in this.

Hope this helped. If you would like to know how this can be solved, stay tuned for our next article. Feel free to leave comments below regarding any questions you may have.