He holds human being as, ‘condemned to be free’ because the anguish of his decisions also falls on him. In the life of an IAS aspirant too, Sartre’s philosophy holds much relevance because you are responsible for your decision to sit for this examination and even any angst related to this decision (along with positive results of your hard-work) will only and only be bore by you. This anguish derived from ‘responsibility’ is such because for most of you, you are not alone in this decision, but your expectations, expectations of your friends and family and the desire to contribute to the society, also accompany your decision.

The hoopla around this examination and the life after becoming an IAS are rated so highly, that every alternative you think about seems pale. This is also one of the reasons for your anguish, because you know what glory will not fall on you if you are not able to clear this examination. And this is what might astray you from giving your hundred percent in this examination! So imagine the scenario, where you’ve started a fresh day and you sit to study all motivated, and this thought occupies your mind about the miniscule number of aspirants getting through prelims itself from amongst the swarm of candidates you might have seen (just) only in your coaching! Or, how you could’ve made money by staying in your job in the equivalent number of years you give in the preparation! And, boom! Suddenly in instalments you start feeling anxious about your decision every now and then. This definitely, definitely impacts your efficiency and your preparation negatively. You might not recognize how, but it is does have a bearing on your mind as somewhere unconsciously you start feeling the ‘anguish of your decision’.

This is however, the part and parcel in every aspirant’s preparation journey. The truth of the matter is that, yes you’ve taken a BIG decision which will have an impact on your career. Yes, you will get demotivated if you don’t clear your first attempt’s prelims or for that matter, the second attempt’s. Yes, the burden as well as the sweet fruits of this decision will only fall on you. SO WHAT? This should not undermine your efforts. When you first felt the urge to prepare for IAS and you entered in the preparation zone, it’s given, that you made an informed choice. Now, this shouldn’t be your concern that what will happen if you don’t get through, what your parents will say, what you will do next etc. Because, once you’ve made the brave decision, you must also equip yourself to handle the anguish that will come along. On the contrary, the expectation of this anguish shouldn’t let you from giving your all. You have the potential; you do not want to destroy it with doubts of uncertainty!

Once you accept this, “yes, it’s your decision to take this difficult road and you are ready to face any consequences that will follow”, you will automatically witness the anguish fading away! So what, if your alternative is not as fancy as the life of an IAS, at least you made a dedicated and honest attempt! So what you did not fulfil your parents’ expectations, with that much calibre in you, you will do good in whatever you’ll do and sooner or later success will come! So what your desire to contribute to the society doesn’t find its expression through “IAS’’, you still have plethora of other ways to carry the winds of change!

The bottom line is that when your mind is free from the anguish and (burdened) responsibility of your decisions, when it is calm, only then you can make a focussed attempt and strike with full energy. For this, you really need to be realistic and practical. You must have short-term and long-term goals. You must have a well thought-out plan and a ‘satisfying’ alternative. And who knows, maybe all your patience and hard work bears its super-sweet fruits and you crack the CSE. And even if you don’t, instead of anguish, you will feel satisfied that you gave your everything and made an attempt knowing all the possible consequences! So buck up, don’t fall short in your efforts, give your best and then say KE SERA SERA! Whatever will be, will be!

“As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.”
-Jean Paul Sartre


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