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MOTIVATION: Prelims is Over. What next?



By Raju Mishra IAS


A year has passed since I joined the service but it seems just like yesterday. I still follow the exam schedule and result dates with the same eagerness for I have many close friends associated with the mayanagri of UPSC . The Prelims are over and now we have three categories of aspirants.

First , who know in their hearts and head that the paper was unconventional and they are bound to fail. Trust me I can understand your reproach, disgust and anger with UPSC for the unconventional paper . But if you are to succeed in the future let me tell you first to get rid of these feelings. I stayed bitter for sometime with UPSC. But realized that these feeling would serve no purpose but only act as an impediment to success. Do not look for reasons/people to blame for your failure.

Current affairs is a part of the syllabus and trust me no one can assure you even 1 question from it in the next year Prelims ! So I am going to repeat myself cover the entire syllabus to the best of your abilities , you never know which area UPSC will stress on and stump you . Remember it’s a comparative exam, people will qualify and get into the service despite the unconventional nature and you can at max prepare yourself for the exam by giving in your best. I know my roommate knew better than me in probably all subjects with the exception of environment and culture and believe me UPSC 2014 killed him by stressing him on these very two subjects! Prelims 2016 is a wake up call to all those who thought reading current affairs compilation during last months could be an answer to sustained newspaper reading all through the year. Please pay heed to it. Throw the failure away, accept your mistakes and rise from the ashes. 

Second are the ones who are on ‘border’ and Third are the ones whose sustained hard work has paid off and they are confident to write mains . Congratulations ! Now begins the difficult part. You shall be up against the 15000 odd people who have worked hard and continuously over the past months.

Now is not the time to wait for the results and give yourself the space to commit that big error: Prelims done , face saved now chillax and prepare for mains ! Nobody cares even for the Interview failed candidate! UPSC is probably the toughest task master and a great equalizer for you have to begin all over again the next year . Hence do not wait for anything else, be it mains test series announcement, or your first test, or the Prelims results. You have got the break you deserved – now go back to the Policy of Blood and Sweat! Give as many hours as possible, write as much as you can, revise as much as possible and above all cover the entire syllabus. Use the test series to your advantage. Do your experiments – which pen to write with, which portion to begin with , how is your writing speed stretched over 3 hours, should you attempt 7 questions per hour or make it 8 or 7 or 5 , how to draw while writing, how to highlight, points or paras – make these test series give you the final answer.

Remember that “sattar minute “ dialogue by SRK from Chak de India, these next 100 days can change your life and destiny and nobody can take it away from you. Let nobody take it away from you including yourself ! It may sound funny but right now you are your biggest enemy . Your complacency and laziness may cost you dearly !

On a lighter note Many people have asked me as to how does it feel on the other side ? Is it all worth it? I remember having used lines like “people need to come out of their ivory towers and take decisions to actually ensure last mile delivery of service to the teeming millions. So how exactly are people inside the Ivory Tower ?

To answer the question , YES it is all worth it . No doubt there are a million problems both personal and professional that I have faced already and will face in the future, but that doesn’t take away the positives of being a civil servant. From being addressed by the President at IIT in 2013 to addressing in his presence in Feb 2016, from visiting the high seas to the deepest of forests in our country, from the glamour of Mumbai-Ahmedabad to the strife for basic facilities in villages – I have been exposed to these and much more, and I have loved every moment. My 2-3 months in the district have exposed me to the impact we can have on society and have drawn inspiration from the tremendous work done by senior civil servants in the field.

I am currently in a district where despite being a home cadre I cannot meet my family often, have to go 100km for a decent movie hall and local mall, I get the same bland food everyday at the circuit house ( though better than described in An English August 😀 ) and spend my weekends mostly alone and away from friends. It’s a drastic change from academy life and college life and quite stark in comparison to the life my colleagues from college are living in the corporate sector. Even on a holiday I am mostly going to attend meetings for festivals, dignitaries visits and other new projects with my seniors, and don’t get the wrong impression – my seniors in district are working twice as hard, DM sir being the most passionate about the work. Best, despite all this let me tell you IT IS ALL WORTH IT! It’s a fulfilling moment.

All those dreams of service, helping the destitute and poor while commanding respect and acknowledgment for your service is all true. There is a mountain of challenges and plethora of opportunities awaiting you not to mention the Batti waali gaadi! 🙂 . So shake off the depression, laziness and tension , jump into the flowing stream of hard work and reach your dream. Name on the List is just the beginning, thereafter you shall have a ride you would never forget !


P.S. Drop a mail on for any queries! Good Luck !