Your time at college is like a plethora of opportunities in your platter to explore new areas of interests, read extensively, participate in extra-curricular activities and take up leadership roles, and manage your studies and assignments at the same time. You must never fall short of extracting the best of the opportunities thrown at you. All this, while preparing for UPSC, may seem a humungous task, but if you have the zeal and passion in you, you can be the all rounder you want to be.
Why from college? You may wonder. To repeat, the time is full of opportunities, not only for outdoor activities, but also with an opportunity to learn and grow. Consider the following points:—
- Library, Wi-Fi, Books: Who stops you from going to a library in college? It is like a blessing for a UPSC aspirant where they can sit, read, learn, and open up their minds to a variety of new ideas, thinking, and opinions. You can at-least start by spending 2-hours daily reading and analyzing The Hindu newspaper, gain knowledge from periodicals like The Frontline, Economic and Political Weekly, National Geographic, Science Reporter, etc. Later, in non-exam days, you can start reading NCERTs, and read the standard books, collect your doubts, and consult your seniors.Professors and Seniors Colleagues: Never underestimate the power of experience, which no amount of knowledge can surpass. Interact with your seniors; learn from professors, clear out the concepts where you get stuck, no one’s stopping you. Unleash your thirst for knowledge, to know more, to learn more, and keep growing. Speak little, listen more, and keep your ears open even if you do not agree at some point!
- Leadership Roles, Ground Realities: Does your college offer you an opportunity to go and teach children in slums? Or voice your opinions in a debate on an important topic? Or attend seminars to learn from knowledgeable people? It is there for you to go and learn, get the exposure, know about ground realities. Work with NGOs’, see how works of the Government are executed at the ground level, and take up internships. You must keep visiting the websites of various Ministries of the Government of India and get hold of opportunities that they offer to college students and participate, for example, Sameep (Students and MEA Engagement Program) launched by the Ministry of External Affairs to expand the outreach of the mission to take Indian foreign policy and its global engagements to students across country and also to look at diplomacy as a career option.
What subject to opt for?
If decided with your optional: Have a liking for History? Want to take up that subject as an optional? Go for BA (Hons.) History programme and read the subject thoroughly. Write your exams well, read everything from the syllabus, and be sincere with yourself.
If not decided with your optional: You must opt for a graduation course with the subjects that you really love to read. Be it English literature, or any other language course, or any science or math subject, or any of your favorite humanities or commerce course. Pragmatically speaking, you really have to be thorough and good with your optional, so feel free to explore so that you make a smart choice that you will thank yourself for in the later phase of your UPSC journey.
On a broader perspective, make sure to make a smart choice while choosing your electives, the more they coincide the UPSC GS syllabus, the better it is as they will give you a competitive advantage over other beginners. This will also help you a lot in managing and utilizing your time smartly enough to make the most out of it.
Testing Your Preparation:
It is very important to keep testing your preparation from time to time, asses where you are, and keep improving. Never get let down by the marks in your tests, always take them as a torchlight that show you the path to improvement. While joining a test series in the first year itself is not recommended, you must always go and attend open-mock tests conducted by coaching institutes in your city, and always make sure to spend quality time analyzing them. All it takes is one Sunday to write a test and analyze, you may watch a good movie with your peer group the next Sunday, only if it is related to UPSC, and that too when you are in your First year.
In your final year, when you’ll be nearing your exams, and getting done with graduation, make sure you join a test series that suits your schedule and rigorously test your preparation and prepare well for your First Preliminary Exam Attempt.
Finding a Peer Group:
Never think you are alone in this preparation. You must find a peer group that sustains on healthy competition and rigorous preparation that helps you revise and clear your doubts, and participate in healthy group discussions. Talking to different people from different walks of life will give you a new perspective in ground realities and help you grow as a person, and an insightful future administrator. Just in case you don’t find such a group, keep focused on your preparation, make good friends, enjoy your college life and keep working hard.
Remember, you are not there just to slog. Enjoy your preparation, and the only way you can do it is by living it.
Last but not the least…
Self-affirmation, conviction, and determination are the three ingredients that will set you on an auto-pilot and make you live your life as a UPSC aspirant to the fullest. You must be so sure about your objectives that nothing can deter or derail you from the path you have set for yourself.
How can the ‘Unique Shiksha’s Graduation Foundation Programme’ help you manage studies and preparation better?
The Unique Graduation Foundation programme is the stepping stone for young aspirants to start preparing towards realising their IAS aspirations right after joining college.
Moreover, the Graduation Foundation programme is designed around the college schedule to help students optimise their time and priorities.
The highlights of the Programme are:
• Regular tests conducted to keep a check on progress
• Personal Mentor is assigned to the aspirants to help clear whatever doubts they may have
• Provides 24X7 access to current affairs via the app and web-interface
The Graduation Foundation Programme with exclusive features is truly unique and is the most sought after programme for IAS preparation for college students, and has earned Unique Shiksha the recognition of being the best IAS coaching in India.
• Personal Tutor
• Tablet Learning
• Recorded Classes
• NCERT Tests
• Weekly Tests (objective & subjective)
• Prelims & Mains Test Series
• Extra Modules
• Comprehensive Study Material
• Topic-wise Handouts
• Monthly Current Affairs Magazine
• Weekly News Paper analysis classes
• Explanation of Test Series and Discussion.