The Telegraph
| Monday, August 29, 2016 |


Lies we tell ourselves

Before a semester begins, students make a host of promises but break each one of them by mid-term. Ishani Banerji tracks common backtracks

Ishani Banerji 

At the beginning of each semester S. Getcy Promothini of the Government College of Technology in Coimbatore, resolves to revise whatever she is taught in class everyday. Initially, she manages to do it too. But soon, that promise to herself, "ends up being a lie each time," rues Getcy.

As a new semester rolls around, we are eager to start anew. So we vow to do everything that will help us sail through it. We start off on the right foot too but soon life and our tendency to procrastinate get in the way. Here are the six things we promise ourselves but are unable to keep.

Put your heads together

A group discussion clears the mist of doubts and gives a better grasp of concepts. So we schedule one with our friends. But when pals meet, studying ends up on the backburner. You chat, eat and pose for pictures intead. "We decide to meet up for group study. We get together but keep postponing the study part. Then exams come knocking and we are left with self study," says Anuradha Roy, a student at the University of Calcutta.

Early to bed

"I can't wake up early and am always late for college. I have promised to break this cycle," says Bindhya Aravind, final-year student of St Xavier's College in Calcutta. A promise most of us have made ourselves - that we will go early to bed and be early to rise. But the nocturnal life of watching movies and binging on sitcoms is a habit very difficult to beak. Net result? Although we rush every morning, we still miss the first class.

Library rules

"At the start of the semester, I decide that I will get relevant books issued from the library early and organise study materials. But visits to the library only happen once exams are on the doorstep," says Atreyee Basu, a student at Presidency University, Calcutta. Some of us even make it to the library and get the books issued but then we run out of steam and the books gather dust on our study tables.

Look, no apps

"I swear each time that instead of checking WhatsApp obsessively, I will use my data pack to download tutorials," confides Mukulika Mandal of the Haldia Institute of Technology. Yet each time she switches on the Net connection, she ends up on WhatsApp. If you stray to FaceBook or YouTube whenever you switch on your laptop then you too must have vowed to waste less time on social media. Yet most of us cannot give up this addiction unless it is the night before the exams. Sometimes, not even then.

A better tomorrow

Each time Dinesh Sharma of Acharya Narendra Dev College in New Delhi stays up all night to finish his practical files, he swears that he will start working early on them next term. But that never happens. So what stops him? Hanging out in the canteen, playing on the grounds, jamming on the guitar or chatting with friends. Staying in college long after classes are over means that we will be unable to finish assignments on time.

"I promise to attend more classes and be serious about my studies," says Debjayita Ghosh of the Calcutta University right before her end-semesters every time. Come the next semester and this promise turns into a lie.

Lying to yourself with renewed vigour before a new semester has been referred to as the 'tomorrow syndrome' by Mainak Sengupta, assistant professor and head of genetics, Calcutta University. "This tomorrow syndrome often transforms our before-semester resolutions into a state of lies. As a geneticist, I have no answer to the casualty of something which is fundamentally true of all humanity, though maybe a touch more prevalent among students," says Sengupta.

"By nature we are narcissistic but we look for shortcuts and end up lying," says clinical psychologist Dr Anindita Chatterjee. There is a constant battle between the id, ego and super-ego (instinctual trend, realistic self and moral control, respectively) in the human psyche. "Fool the id and allow ego and super-ego to take precedence," recommends Dr Chatterjee, the director of Julien Day New Mission School and coordinator at Peerless Hospital child guidance clinic. So stop procrastinating today, for tomorrow you may not have any new semesters left.

Ishani Banerji is a student of Calcutta University