Is it important to leave friends for the UPSC to fulfill my IAS aim?
Your dream of becoming a civil servant is admirable, as you are now ready to dedicate your life to our nation. As every dream requires inevitable sacrifices, the path to becoming a civil servant is not without them, as you might know already. I want to emphasize that you have to be careful in managing your time from now on, as the civil services preparation is long and arduous, requiring proper time management. Often, I see my students confused about drawing the appropriate line in their social life. What you have experienced and enjoyed over these years has to be put in the past for good and start respecting the exam you are now preparing for. Please remember that the Civil Services Exam cannot be cleared by a fluke, which implies that you have to have specific changes in your life.
Much of your confusion might be revolving around the standard advice that one must leave all their friends to clear CSE. I will explain in detail what you must do to get the maximum efficiency in your preparation.
What to Avoid during your Preparation?
Keep your social life simple once you start your preparation. This does not mean that you are expected to cut off your relationship with all your friends. Keep your friends circle small and make sure that these friends you chose to keep close support you in your journey. More often, aspirants get negative affirmations from some of their known social acquaintances. This may affect their performance in the exam, and hence, if you decide to keep in touch with a few of your friends, make sure that the list contains only a few of them and out of the chosen ones, none will affect you negatively. As man is a social animal, completely disassociating with everyone may affect you adversely as well. If you are someone who is very much comfortable with solitude, then you may choose to keep your social circle extremely thin. But, this applies to only very few people, and an aspirant must not force themselves to shut off from people altogether. If you decide to dissociate with everyone, the chances of feeling loneliness may increase. Just stick with a small circle of friends from whom you can derive the positive energy that is needed for your preparation.
You may talk to them once in a while when you are stressed. These conversations are encouraged as long as it does not take away your precious time. Also, continuous outings are not encouraged, even if it is with your closest friends. You can consider an outing when you overexert while preparing and as a means of mentally recharging yourself. These outings should not be the usual clubbing and weekend getaways. Also, avoid unwanted family functions along with this. Attend these functions only if they are significant, and you may choose to avoid any function, be it from kith or kin if they are trivial.
Along with reducing the physical interactions while preparing, particular importance should be given to pulling yourself out from social media. If possible, kindly remove yourself from all social media entirely. This is for two reasons- 1) You may tend to compare your life with others you see on social media and get dejected 2) Social media algorithms are programmed to keep you addicted to it. In both cases, you will lose your precious time, which otherwise can be used productively. Hence, every civil service aspirant must be wary of social media. Kindly use the technology for your preparation and do get addicted to it. Click here to read an interesting article on how to minimize distractions.
As the preparation time is quite long, one must make sure to be mentally strong at all times. You may always have brief conversations with your close friends and parents to vent out any issues. Along with this, exercise or meditate regularly. This will keep your mind and body strong. The endorphins released through a physical workout will keep you active and reduce your stress levels. The vital thing to remember is that you have to keep going no matter how tough it gets. As long as you show perseverance, success is assured in civil services. My best wishes!