Civil services exam is known not only for being extremely difficult to crack, but also for the vastness of its syllabus. There are hundreds of topics to be covered through myriad books, classes to be attended, notes to be made and multiple revisions needed before attempting practice papers. It will not be an overstatement to say that barely going through the syllabus takes at least a year. This raises questions over the practicability of preparing for this exam.
The ‘culture’ of civil services preparation has convinced the aspirants that one needs to be discreet in one’s journey, hide notes, mislead others and NOT MAKE FRIENDS in this process as friends only distract you, waste your time and take your advantage. In the words of Viru Sahastrabuddhi of Three Idiots, ‘life is a race and no one cares who came second. Either you win or you are a loser.’ NOTHING CAN BE FAR FROM THE TRUTH.
History tells us that the most notable human achievements have been made possible because of teamwork. Be it the agricultural revolution, infinite scientific inventions and discoveries, Industrial Revolution, formation of Nations, Digital Revolution, etc, everything required to build up on others knowledge and experiences. We are the result of evolution of collective consciousness. Civil services preparation is no different.
Synergy refers to the substantial increase in the potential of a team compared to the sum total of individual players. If one student alone can make one note on one topic in one day, then four friends can make four notes on four topics in one day. This will reduce the time for reading and note making and increase time for revision and practice papers. And this is not it. There are more to the advantages of preparing in a group.
We all are aware about the mental exhaustion and mood-swings related to civil services preparation. Everyone starts with a bang but most soon get bored, disheartened, and give up. The reason is the basic human need to socialise. When all our friends are either in jobs or studying in higher universities or partying, it is natural to feel alone and can cause self-esteem issues, especially when we don’t have any achievement to be proud about. Here the role of team becomes important.
To have a friend circle which not only studies together, but laughs, eats and relaxes together is to have a lasting support system during preparation. Additionally, motivation from peers and positive competition increases our output. This synergy helps in avoiding the ‘lows’ and the ‘downs’ during preparation and complete difficult phases of studies in a fun way.
However, it is important to take note of few things when finding the right peer. Firstly, the group should be a small one (not exceeding four). Secondly, every member should be dead serious about the exam. Thirdly, there should be an experienced guide/mentor within or outside the team that directs the preparation. Fourthly, leisure activities shouldn’t overpower the main motive of the team. And finally, there should be immense trust among the teammates.
Competitions have stooped down the common belief to the level that, in order to win, you have to make the others lose. But always remember, our success is not dependent on others’ failure, it is dependent only on our self-improvement.
So either we can improve by learning from others and save time in climbing the stairs of success or isolate ourselves and learn by falling on each step. The choice is ours.