Civil Dreams – The pandemic-induced lockdown and strict measures have forced Union Public Service Commission to postpone examinations. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust lakhs of civil service aspirants across the country.
They are struggling to cope with lack of study material, coaching facilities and general anxiety in the run-up to arguably the most important examination of their lives. Coping with derailed preparations, they hope that their civil dreams are not turned into nightmares in the fog of COVID-19.
Current COVID-19 situation in India
India’s surge in COVID-19 infections began around mid-March 2021 and increased rapidly, reaching a peak of more than 400,000 recorded daily cases on Friday, 30 April.
India continues to reel under an unrelenting Covid wave, with 4,172 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, the highest since the pandemic began in the country. The country’s total infections are now at over 2.18 crore.
The horrifying scenes from India’s hospitals, cremation/burial grounds have stunned the world. It has showed the gruesome impact of the second wave of coronavirus on the second most populous nation on the Earth. As India continues its war against the pandemic lakhs of civil service aspirants are trying to piece back their shattered focus and adjust with the situation.
COVID-19 impact on Civil Service Aspirants
Civil Dreams – In the pre-corona situations, lakhs of aspirants had their specific schedule set as per their convenience. But in the new format amidst COVID-19 restrictions many aspirants are facing difficulties to cope up with the changing situations.
The country and its several areas suffered complete shut down on account of Covid 19 pandemic. Aspirants have faced various hindrances in preparation and appearing in the exams. The aspirants were often entailed to the company of like-minded aspirants and round-the-clock guidance from experienced teachers. Also, they used to get direct access to updated study material and regular reviews of exam performances. Coaching centres had most of these aspects covered.
1. Disturbed Schedule and Panic: –
With academies shut, several UPSC aspirants have returned to their hometowns lugging along their hope to become the ‘steel frame of India’s government machinery.’ Many aspirants are struggling to even find Internet connectivity in their homes, as evident from the experience of Dhinakar V from Dindigul, who was forced to go back home.
Uncertainty and panic have now become part of the syllabus that they didn’t prepare for. Many candidates have faced personal, physical, psychological, emotional and financial hindrances. Covid has affected the mental health of many candidates.
2. Number of aspirants are acting as Corona Worriers: –
Few of them are acting as Covid warriors have had to remain in long periods of isolation. Aspirants include several Covid Warriors namely Dr Shailaja and Dr Vidya who were treating the covid patients, and persons engaged in essential services. Besides Ajay Kumar who works in Police Department gave his services during pandemic. These aspirants have worked incessantly and exhausted themselves in the service of the nation and its people.
3. Consequences of Changed study methods: –
Civil Dreams – In the pre-corona situations, the aspirants used to remain packed in cramped classrooms, and swotting timetables. Rigorous training, back-to-back test series, and revisions were part of their daily routine. They kept poring over thousands of reference materials. Now most aspirants are now forced to adapt to the new normal of taking online tests and attending webinars.
4. Disadvantages of online Coaching: –
Online IAS classes have made most of the aspirants lethargic and indisciplined. There’s no one to monitor or prod every day. These classes can be postponed and listened later. Reading material has been made available online in the format of soft copies. Downloading PDFs, highlighting, and line-reading them hurts the eyes.
5. Remote areas and inaccessibility of internet: –
Candidates also include several candidates who reside at remotest areas and hardly have proper access to the internet and materials for study. In the north-eastern areas of India, the connectivity of the internet is not the same as in the urban areas. Therefore, candidates hailing from the north east region have suffered a serious setback in preparation for the CSE.
6. Women in distress: –
Married women and working women had the extra burden of managing household chores, family, children and their office work. Besides the unmarried women aspirants are facing the pressure of marriage.
7. Economic hardships: –
Certain candidates also suffered huge economic loss. With no jobs and reduced family income the aspirants need to compromise with their preparations. Many of them are even not able to join online classes and test series.
8. Personal loss and emotional stress: –
There are UPSC aspirants whose family members contracted Covid 19 infection and survived. Some aspirants have suffered through bereavement of near and dear ones, an aspirant Nishant Tiwari from Uttar Pradesh lost his parents to Covid.
Possible Solutions to Reduce stress and anxiety: –
Students appearing for the UPSC exams need comforting words and reassurance. They’ve been battling financial and mental health issues because of the exam. Some were concerned about the news on the privatisation of PSUs and job opportunities. Many are struggling with the academies being closed.
Here are some basic things that the aspirants can follow: –
- Follow a basic exercise routine along with 20 to 30 minutes of walking. This will not only help them to remain fit but always reduce the stress.
- The aspirants should take healthy and safe diet.
- Don’t get obsessed with COVID-related information.
- Focus on enhancing your skills and abilities.
- Focus on positive things in your surroundings.
- Stay away from social media Follow a proper study schedule.
- Stick to your format and keep revising.
- Spend time with your family members and friends.
- Try to help the needy persons in your neighbourhood.
- Remain optimistic and also encourage others who need emotional support.
- Adapt to the trend of online coaching. Also Spend wisely on online classes.
Way Forward in New Normal
This is the best time for civil service aspirants to develop and work on your personal qualities such as endurance capability, patience, handling situations, decision-making and questioning abilities. These are essential for an administrator in testing times. Aspirants should not get lethargic because the exam dates have been postponed or lose hope.
On the brighter side, online coaching, YouTube tutorials and live streaming sessions make it possible for students to stay abreast with current affairs. There are also a plethora of social media groups sharing updates even in regional languages. In these extraordinary times, the learning curve is steep, and we hope the aspirants bookmark lessons that sustain and add sunshine to their survival.