What UPSC has taught me? – Mukul Kulkarni ( CSE 2015- AIR 238, IRS-IT)

Mukul Kulkarni.
Grad- B.Pharm.
3rd Attempt,
IA&AS in last attempt,
Optional- Political Science


“A degree usually takes 4 years to complete, as was the case with my graduation in Pharmacy. But the civil services journey,which I consider as nothing less than graduation, has stretched beyond 4 years and is currently in its 5th year. This journey has had many ups and downs and has thus been a teacher to me, appreciating my good points,helping me find my strengths and discover my hitherto unknown weaknesses and above all, helping me discover my own self. There are many things I have learnt in this journey. But if it has to be put forth in a nutshell, it would be these points.

1. Patience 
For someone like me who had to take admission for the Pharmacy course only because of getting marks lesser than that required for medical admissions, repeating the CET in 12th std was never an option as I believed I had very little patience to study for another year. UPSC began teaching me this patience which I thought I so lacked when I failed in my first mains and had to give another attempt,and then another,and now again another. I learnt that good things sometimes take more time and that patience is not just about waiting or being calm. It is also about perseverance- consistent and sincere work to achieve one’s goal inspite of being frustrated, angry ,sad and afraid time and again.
2. Smart work ( only hard work is not enough)
When 3-3.5 lakh people are giving an exam, it is assumed that hard work is a prerequisite for success. However,though essential,it is not enough. After I failed my first mains, I realized that not only had I not worked hard,but I hadn’t worked as one should,for such a dynamic exam. I learnt that it is very important , as my friend and IAS officer Nisarg had said, to study the exam along with studying ‘for’ the exam. That it is important to know what to read ( and more importantly what not to read) , how to read, and how to reproduce this read part in the exam and in what form. That exam study must be Smart, combining hard work along with efficiency and effectiveness. 

3. Adaptation and Adoption
Starting with the changing of the mains syllabus in 2013, followed by a marked change in the nature of the preliminary examination over the last 2 years, UPSC has always been more dynamic and variable than even the Indian monsoon. Known by names such as Unpredictable public service commission,  the journey has tought me ( and still teaching) to be adaptive as well as adoptive. To adapt oneself to the frequently changing nature and pattern of the exam by avoiding sticking to a static studying method that is not responsive to the changing demands of the exam.This  Along with ‘ adoption’ of the best practices and points followed by other exam mates,tweaked suitably according to individual behavioral as well as academic differences. Same principle would also apply to the non academic spheres of life as well.

And lastly
4.  A holistic , rational and balanced Attitude.
UPSC has transformed my initial narrow minded and biased attitude in these 4 years and made me who I am today. 4 years ago I was a cynic who used to criticize the government for all the ills that had befallen the society. But Reading so many books, newspapers along with watching televised debates and Internet browsing made me realize that truth is never at the extremes,that it is always somewhere in between.It would suffice to say that if the search for truth is the goal of life then UPSC is certainly a candle in the darkness of illusion and ignorance that cloud one’s mind.

It is these things that I have learnt in my journey. There are many many more and would probably require a book to jot all of them down. However the common thread among them to learn is that UPSC is the Guru and we all are its Shishyas and that this process of learning must go on. 

Source: xaam.in

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