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( The pain of being Civil Service Aspirant )

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Charles Dicken’s most famous opening line

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times "

Perhaps best defines the general mood around the APSC CCE civil service ecosystem. The stars who are shining today rightly deserve the recognition and accolades that are being showered on them.

Congratulations to each one of the successful candidates. But here, I want to address all those who couldn’t find their names in the final list or all those who failed at any stage before. Any day in the life of an aspirant of such a competitive exam is a tough day. You get up in the morning with nothing but unsolved riddles of the previous day. You always feel that you are carrying a big load in your head. So much stuff to do and so little time.

The movie 12th Fail dramatized the idea of “RESTART” but I can assure you that it is one of the toughest mental battles to convince the mind to begin again as everything comes back to your mind. The good as well as the bad.Many of you must be thinking that you won’t like to put yourself in the firing line again, pinning the hopes and aspirations on this exam and risking the fact that the final list may not find you again.

This means that there will be two categories of candidates. The first category will comprise those who due to any given reason have decided to move out of this rat race. My best wishes are with them, and I pray to God that they will find peace in whatever vocation they may pursue. My only wish for them is to not have any regrets about this experience and move on with the learnings that they have gained by preparing for this rigorous examination.

The second category of students are those who have decided that they are going to appear again. They must, and I insist here they must forget about the results as soon as possible. That is only possible if they devote totally to the process once again.

Human is a thinking animal but our THOUGHTS make us a slave more than a human most of the time. We sit at a table appearing to study something but random thoughts like what food to eat, what song to listen, why did I flunk my exam etc. etc. eats our time and more importantly our energy and zeal. Don’t give too much emphasis on thoughts.

“The doer is more important than the mere thinker.”

You know what is to be done and be dedicated to completing that task day in and day out. Don’t think much, don’t talk much. Just do it. Once you have decided to jump into the race again then there should be zero thinking on “What to do?” rather your whole focus should be on “How to make it possible”.

The fallacy of thinking “What can be done/What to do?” is that you begin to look for conveniences like “am I studying more/less, am I getting adequate rest/sleep, is my work-life balance getting affected” etc. etc. The beauty of doing something wholeheartedly is that thinking becomes redundant and you become mentally free. Become choiceless. You must study means you have to study.

Bottomline is that once you have decided to appear for CCE 2023/UPSC CSE then stop your thinking on that. Your thinking at this moment should be only on “How to clear the upcoming exam” and nothing else. “How” is far more important than “What”. One way of doing it is by bringing this exam down to earth from the holy pedestal that many aspirants keep.

Reduce the hype and hoopla associated with this exam. It is important to understand what this exam is not: 

It is not a gateway to superstardom.

It will not end all your troubles.

It is not the holy river whose dip will cleanse you of all your shortcomings of past life.

Treat it just like you treat any challenge that you face in your life like having to build a house or to tackle that nagging friend of yours who is sucking the joy out of your life. There is all possibility that when you search your name 10 to 12 months from now in that (un)holy pdf you might see your sweet little name there.

Hiranya Saika- Lalans IAS Faculty
About Author
Hiranya Saikia, a seasoned professional with 5+ years in academia, serves as the Director of Academics. A five-time UPSC Mains qualifier with an M.A. in Political Science, he brings a wealth of experience. Formerly an Assistant Accounts Officer in CAG, Government of India, his diverse background reflects a commitment to excellence in both academia and public service. As a mentor in Civil Services, Hiranya inspires and guides aspiring candidates towards success.
Hiranya Madhab Saikia
Lalan’s IAS.
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