I have been thinking for a long time, going through previous years’ toppers’ blogs, whether I should do the same or not. I have been sharing strategies of Mains and Personality Test through toppers’ talk sessions on various platforms and posting them on my Facebook profile for everyone to see. What I realised that these sessions of mine didn’t provide consolidation of strategies of different stages and different subjects at one place. Hence, I decided to write my own blog finally sharing details of all things I learnt during this preparation process, be it the strategy to clear each stage of the exam, change in my personal behaviour, how I am a different person compared to pre-preparation time and other useful things which would be helpful for the aspirants.
In this post, I would like to tell you my reason for pursuing a career in civil services. In the subsequent posts I would highlight about general overview of Civil Services Exam, my preparation journey, mistakes I committed, learnings from my mistakes, book / notes list, specific strategies for Prelims, Mains and Personality Test. I would like to start off giving a brief introduction of myself.
I was sent to boarding school at age of 8 years away from my parents as my native place didn’t have English medium school post Class 5. My parents wanted that I am provided with good foundation of primary, secondary and higher secondary education. I studied for 5 years in town of Madhupur (Jharkhand). Post that I went to Bokaro (Jharkhand) where I passed Matriculation from Guru Gobind Singh Public School and 12th Class from Delhi Public School. I was preparing for engineering entrance examinations and cleared IIT-JEE as a fresher in year 2009. After that I went to IIT Kanpur to pursue my graduation in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering. After my college, I got placed in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Pvt. Ltd. (one of the Big Four Audit firms of the world) as Management Consultant. There I worked for 2 years after which I left the private job in June 2015 and I decided to pursue my career in civil services. Let me tell you that the decision to switch from job to service, and that too public service, was not impulsive but logical.
I heard about Civil Services career for the first time when I cleared IIT-JEE. My father wanted me to become an IAS officer since then. When I was in 6th semester of college, I had different career options like higher studies, MBA or Civil Services. I didn’t want to go for higher studies inspite of having good academic credentials (CPI – 9.1/10), just because I wanted to use all my skills and experience (academic, management, leadership, teamwork) accumulated in college either in MBA or in Civil Services. I was well acquainted with both career options as I had enough friends to guide me who were pursuing either of the two career options. In 3rd year an interesting thing happened. There used to be seminars conducted in my college by our alumni who had cleared Civil Services Examination. I decided to attend it. After interacting with alumni, I realised that the scope of Civil Services is quite large.
Civil servants implement policies on the field as well as frame those policies when they move up in the hierarchy in their career. This dynamic nature of the Civil Services allows to work for the masses on the field as well as when you move in the Secretariat. The scope of civil services is to contribute and bring reforms in various sectors like education, health and economic sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, work for vulnerable sections ultimately contributing to nation building.
I then realised that this would give me immense satisfaction as I would work for public welfare through Civil Services career. But I had a problem. The financial condition of my family at that time was not that good to support me for my studies. There is also a mental peace attached when one takes his/her own decisions, like preparing for Civil Services, with his/her own money. I decided to sit for placements and take a job to save money for my preparation. After working for 1 year in PwC, the desire to prepare for Civil Services was aggravated. In my private job, I got a feeling that though I was burning midnight oil (working for around 12-13 hours) but its impact on the masses was limited. This thought pushed me towards civil services and I left my job after 2 years when I had saved enough money for the preparation phase. Then, I decided to prepare for Civil Services Exam (CSE) full time.
Everyone should have the fire within them to do whatever they want to do else when the motivation doesn’t come from inside, they crumble even when minute problems come. This is especially the case during CSE preparation. Everybody should have their own reasons to prepare for civil services. Whenever you feel low or lose hope, those reasons will come to rescue. If that reason is good enough, he/she will overcome the negativity and come back stronger. It is necessary to know why one wants to prepare for CSE. It shouldn’t be an end but should be a means to an end. Saying this, I would move towards highlighting the contribution of my family and friends in my success.
I am grateful to God that I have got parents having such a long term vision of educating their children. My mother was a light house in the ocean of life for me. She couldn’t pursue her aim of becoming a doctor due to patriarchal mindset of her family but didn’t want her children to suffer the same fate. She did whatever she could to make me study and become a responsible citizen of the country. She used to wake me up at 5 o’ clock in the morning and used to teach me in lantern lights and hot summers when my native town had access to hardly 1 hour of electricity. She did similar things with my younger brother.
Just as my mother was investing her time in grooming me for education inside home, it was my father who burnt midnight oil outside home. He searched for all good boarding schools which were present near my native place as it didn’t have English medium school after Class 5. He took me everywhere to make me appear for entrance examinations in good boarding schools in states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal so that I am provided with good foundation of primary, secondary and higher secondary education.
As I said before, I was sent to boarding school at age of 8 years away from my parents. It would have been very hard for them to send me away at such young age but they had this long vision of educating me so that I can excel in my life. My father didn’t use to buy good clothes for himself so as to save money for my books and my expensive education in the boarding school. They have always been supportive be it financially as well as mentally providing me extreme love, care and affection. They are the people because of whom I have reached where I stand today.
I feel immense satisfaction that I had achieved what my father dreamt long back when I was in Class 12th i.e., to become an IAS officer. I would be in permanent debt of my parents for whatever they have done for me or for whatever they would be continuously doing for me in the future selflessly.
I am also very happy to share that my younger brother also contributed a part in my success. Whatever problems in my family came during my preparation period for Civil Services, he was the one who covered up on my behalf. Thanks to him for providing me much required mental peace during preparation.
Last but not the least, I would like to highlight the contribution of my friends. I have been lucky that I had few friends from my college who were preparing for CSE right after graduation while I was doing job. I used to take regular advice from them. I have also been fortunate enough to have some good friends during my preparation process with whom I framed the right strategy for each stage be it Prelims, Mains or Personality Test. I could name few of them here. They are Pranav, Vaibhav, Navneet, Hari Om, Ravi Goyal, Akshay, Mounica, Devanshu, Ali, Mohit, Avinash. This list is not exhaustive and there are many others who would have helped me during my preparation. I will be grateful to them for my entire life.
I would like to finish this article by summarising the learnings.
- It is important that youths of this country should have some aims or some dreams to chase on else their lives become direction less.
- It is clear that a person should follow their own passion and then only, they can do justice to themselves.
- Everyone should have a strong reason to chase his/her dreams else if any obstacles come, they might fall.
- Educational, financial and demographic status of family could be only obstacles to one’s dreams. If his/her will is strong, he/she could easily surpass them to chase his/her dreams.
That’s it from my side on this post. Next posts would highlight about general overview of Civil Services Exam, my preparation journey, mistakes I committed, learnings from my mistakes, book / notes list, specific strategies for Prelims, Mains and Personality Test.