Tag Archives: self-confidence

Student Confidence

Something I see quite often with the higher education students I’m around is a loss of confidence in themselves.

On the surface they appear to be growing, both physically and mentally, but underneath not all is well. Most I see come straight from school, teenagers, where they have worked themselves up to ‘top-dog’ position within their own school hierarchy. They come in to start their degree courses and it’s all new and novel. For many it’s the first time they’ve truly been away from parental control! This is all something different to be explored, they’re often a bit nervous but it’s still really exciting. This is at the start, what about at the end.

The courses I see them do typically last five years, so having come in full of the joys of proverbial youth they are leaving as adults. Maybe relatively young adults, but still very much adults.

They’ve grown up!

Sometimes this transition into adulthood can happen quite quickly. I’ve seen students I’d class as teenagers at the start of a semester, but by the end, 12 weeks later, I realise I’m talking to an adult. That’s a fast change! More usually it’s a gentle development spread over three or four years. However for some it can cause problems.

As they start to grow up there is the realisation and appreciation that their actions do have consequences, and in turn other people’s actions have consequences upon them. Things you did as a teenager would just be passed off as a bit of fun, as a bit of youthful exuberance. It really didn’t matter as tomorrow would be another day and yesterday would soon be forgotten. Now however those same actions are viewed differently, you are being held responsible for your behaviour in the same way that you now hold others responsible for their behaviour. So there develops a need to gain the approval and acceptance from others of what you’re doing, you can’t just brush things off as if they don’t matter.

For some this is just part of growing up. For others it can make them stop and question what they did before, and this in turn lead to uncertainty as to what they are doing now. When 17 or 18 I thought I was reasonably grown up and mature, but looking back I can see I really wasn’t. How could I have had that attitude then, but I currently now think I’m ‘gown up and mature’, so in reality are my current activities of similar worthlessness?

What about the future? As a teenager I saw the future as just something out there, for tomorrow, not now; but ‘now’ has arrived and there’s uncertainty as to what will happen tomorrow. (All through education you had a fair idea where you would be this time next year – back in the class room; but once you get into final year, where will you be in 12 months’ time – you will not be here!)

For some this can lead to a crisis of confidence in themselves. Where are they going and what do they want to do with themselves. Uncertainty which in turn can lead to depression; a mix of not knowing and what’s the point anyway. Usually by the time it comes to them leaving with their degrees most have developed enough to get a workable amount of control back into their lives. For others though, uncertainty can remain. However in current society showing ‘weakness’ is itself seen as being weak, so up go the false walls and barriers.

But like it or not, it is eventually time for them to move on, life does not stand still. Whatever happens, you just have to do the best you can to suit whatever situation you find yourself in. That’s life!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQm-xWE0Bcg

Response to comment, more on YouTube socialising.

This is partly a response to a comment made on the previous article, and partly that it was time to comment again on YouTube socialising.
Something that has been highlighted to me on quite a few occasions when I’ve been trying to tell others (mainly university students) about the active social side that goes on under the surface of YouTube is something along the lines of… ‘why should I bother with trying to socialise through something like YouTube when I already have a perfectly adequate circle of friends already around me.’ I personally see no need whatsoever, but what about those who don’t have an adequate circle of friends close at hand. We are an inherently social creature and desire friendship and company. (I’m writing this in a Starbucks – people around me, not at home – the only person there.) So for those of such a character that strangers and unknown crowds can be a bit stressful, then what better than developing contacts than in your own time and ‘from the safety of your own home’. Also these contacts can be from all corners of the world, bringing you access to people from different cultures and creeds that almost no amount of physical travel would allow you to achieve. What’s more, there are no time zone boundaries on the internet, it is a 24 hours a day medium.
So I do think many here have a lot in common with each other. A need to develop friendships by this relatively remote method. An acceptance of using technology, and a level of knowledge and intelligence that allows them to do it. Also an understanding of some of the problems of life (which had lead them to be developing friendships this way) which makes them more understanding and sympathetic to others who also have their own problems.
Looking at things from a slightly different angle, there was a while ago a period when people were putting up videos saying how YouTube has changed them. One common theme across almost all the responses was the boost in personal self-confidence that came through developing their communication skills. First perhaps by putting up a comment or two against other people’s videos, maybe joining in the chat onBlogTV , then making and uploading their own videos. This boost with their self-confidence then reflecting through to the rest of their lives, making them better people, more able to cope with and then enjoy life.
So there is a lot to be said for YouTube and the other social networking sites. However as well as pleasure they have in their own way cause me considerable heartache and pain, but more on that another time perhaps.