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This year on May28th, I suffered a little setback. On this day, my result for Class 12th came out. Though I am not an exceptional student who was thinking to top my exams, but I was hoping to secure good enough marks to get into a good college in Delhi University. I have always remained an average student but have dreamt of soaring high in my ambitions.

 

 

Since my childhood, I always dreamt of becoming an IAS officer. I come from a middleclass family living in a Tier II city of India. I have closely watched the intricacies of a government system whether, getting a gas connection or asking my local MLA for cleaning up our colony. Thus, while visiting these offices I had been in awe of the power and position of officers who worked there. Once a young and dynamic SDM got transferred to my district. He put in a considerable amount of effort in making the city roads clean and built local parks with the help of the residents. Influenced by his discipline and accomplishment, I too decided to work for the nation. What is the better job to do it? It is Indian Administrative Services (IAS).

 

These marks though, put a dampener on my dreams but did not manage to crush it entirely. I came to Delhi to join a Political Science course in Delhi University. I managed to secure a college, not necessarily, an elite, but I was happy that I was studying in India’s highly ranked University.

 

My friends also got through various colleges. One of my friend made it to IIT whereas my other friend who did not score too well got admission intoIGNOU. Surprisingly, all of us have the same dream of getting into India’s most coveted job - IAS.

 

After listening to their views as to why they chose their respective fields, I felt little flustered. My engineering friend who has chosen mechanical engineering as his option has already decided on taking Physics as one of his optional for Civil Services Examination(CSE). He felt that taking a science subject will be an added advantage to him as science is a very scoring subject in CSE. Also, he felt that he doesnot have to take any extra coaching for CSAT as already his math is very good.

 

The friend who have enrolled into IGNOU decided to pursue and prepare for civil services full time. Though he is three years premature, but he felt that this exam needs a lot of dedication and commitment. By starting early, he will not only be covering his optionals with his regular study but will also manage to cover all other aspects that this examination demands. As he is not going to college, so he has already joined a coaching institute and has started to build up his preparation.

 

I was perplexed with my friend’s opinions because not only they chose their course and college keeping their future preparations at mind but are also working towards their goals.

 

I also decided to work on the same. After settling in my college life and attending regular lecture, I concluded that at the end of the day I was left with sufficient time at my hand. This time could be utilized to pursue my passion.

 

I started off with my preparation by talking with my seniors at college. They too, were studying and preparing at the same time. They told me that though this was little early for my preparation, but I could work to build my foundation. If the foundation of a building is stable and secure, then a whole castle can be built upon it.

 

I was advised to read newspapers and leading magazines. The information from the newspapers will build a solid base to my knowledge as this would help me in analyzing various aspects of a situation. Not only this would help me in developing a critical and rational mind but would also create inquisitive intellect. Previously, I was reading newspapers from my mobile or tab, and thus, I switched onto printed newspapers. Because, I felt that newspapers should be read like a text book. I could underline and mark them and could also save them from for future references.

 

I also started maintaining a diary in which I would note down various topics that I do not understand. Later, whenever I get time, I visit my college library to find out more in depth about these topics. I also consult my other faculty members from different course, who are always happy to assist me.

 

I also browsed through different websites which provide guidance on how one should prepare for this examination. I was overwhelmed by the information and material in these websites. The one thing that I found common from these websites was that they all pointed to develop writing skills. To enhance my writing skills, I participate in as many essay competitions that are conducted in my college. Winning is not my major aim, rather I want to make progress so that my essay resembled to that of the winner. I have also talked to one of my friend who is our college ‘monthly supplement’ editor. He has agreed to print some of my articles in his supplement.

 

With my new-found knowledge from newspapers and magazine, I have found that I could interact with my peers and seniors over politics, world and geopolitical affairs and various current issues. Though I am still no expert but at least I am not left pondering as to what everyone is talking about!

 

One day, while talking and relaxing around the college campus, we all decided to visit and eat at the famous UPSC chaatwalla.I still remember my first visit to the Dholpur house. I was swamped up with the feeling of exuberance and jubilation. The chaatwas delicious but the glimpse of UPSC made it a delightful event.

 

My college keeps us engaged with various extracurricular activities. I have attended seminars related to economics and political science. I found them very illuminating as these seminars present a 360 degree views on various topics. At one of the seminars, previous UPSC toppers were called. They gave us a speech on how they prepared for this examination and what hurdles were faced by them. I was left spell bound by Ira Singhal’s (CSE 2014 topper) speech. Even in times of adversity, she managed to conquer all her fears and obstacles to secure high rank. This motivated me to look up to her and get ready for the challenges that this examination will throw towards us.

 

In my college, it is compulsory to be a member of any group or activity. Due to my inclination on serving the society, I decided to join National Service Scheme(NSS). It is an Indian government-sponsored public service program conducted by the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government of India. Itis a voluntary association of young people in Colleges, Universities and at +2 level working for a campus-community linkage. It alsoaims to inculcate social welfare in students, and to provide service to society without bias.

 

Thus, linking to this program have benefitted me immensely. I am working in collaboration with different NGO’s. Recently, I worked with Smile Foundation which works intensively through focused welfare projects in four major areas such as child education, healthcare for families, skills training and livelihood for youth, and community engagement through women empowerment. I was moved by their life as the children had so little but managed to keep their happy faces.

 

It directed me to think that I should join a NGO for my internship in summer vacations. After my first semester gets over, I will be applying for the internships. Not only I will be gaining a first-hand experience, but will also be feeling very satisfied that I could start fulfilling my duty as a citizen. The experience with Smile Foundation has also brought a change in me, as I could feel a closeness with the job that I aspire.

 

Also, I heard rumors that in future there might be a pattern change for this examination. The optional paper will be left out to create a level playing field for everyone. I was confounded, whether I should prepare for my optionals or not. My seniors told me not to get into rumors and speculations as this create a distraction. It would only lead to losing my precious time. As my optional is also my course subject, I was advised by them to concentrate on it. If, in future, the optionals do get eliminated, I will not have lost anything. Keeping this in mind, I am studying my course subject to build my solid foundation.

 

I am in the middle of the continuum- at one end lies my IIT’ian friend who is pursuing his engineering but is thinking of preparing for CSE from his fourth year and on the other hand lies my friend who have already taken up the reins for preparing full time for this examination. I believe that my approach to this examination is quite wholesome. Besides gaining an academic knowledge and passing my graduation from a college with good marks, in addition to joining an internship with a reputed NGO, it will be a feather added to my cap.

 

My target is to conquer Civil Services Examination 2020. I have learnt that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.Thus, I am gradually building my aptitude. Civil Services Examination is one of the hardest competitive examination in the country. Best minds and smart talent gets accepted to this prestigious job. I know my weakness and strength, I decided that,as early I get onto this bandwagon, the better this will be for me. Though the target is 3 years down the line, but if I want to crack the examination in my first attempt itself, I am convinced that the path that I have chosen will pay me off in the future.

 

I still remember the day when I got my 12th class result and I felt so dejected. But now I think that it was a blessing in disguise. I am not only studying the course of my choice but also working towards to achieve my dreams. I am gaining an understanding of how the system works. I am also acquainting myself with the problems that an administrator has to face while sitting in his/her office. I am expanding my horizons to gain a holistic experience which will help me in my preparation for this examination. As a scholar said,“it is better to be early and have to try again, than be too late and have to catch up”.

 

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