FROM A LAW GRADUATE TO SERVING THE NATION — S DIVYADARSHINI, CIVIL SERVICES TOPPER,SHARES HER JOURNEY WITH EDUCATION TIMES
Preparing for the civil services examination was definitely not a cakewalk for me. It meant relentless hard work and dedication. It also demanded that I think and learn beyond the obvious. The groundwork was challenging and at the same time thrilling.
I pursued law at The School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, as an undergraduate and took a shot at the civil services exams once during my final year to test myself and know where I stand. But then I gave myself a year-long break to prepare sincerely for the exam.
My first attempt helped me identify the weaknesses and strengths in the various subjects and I planned my preparation schedule accordingly. My background in law helped me develop a deeper understanding of various current affairs and issues plaguing the society. Also, with law and public administration being the optional subjects, I knew my base was strong. My strategy was quite simple — read, research and infer.
After clearing the civil services prelims, I put in 100% while preparing for the mains. For that, I spent half my time in the Connemara Library, a treasure trove of books for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) aspirants. I used the internet and got information on diverse topics and issues. After going through the sample papers and reading the study material I realised that it was important to form opinions and to have a point of view on everything you read and learn. At the interview, I was asked about the Lokpal Bill, the laws on sexual harassment and the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The interview was a mix of profile-based and law-based questions. I managed to answer most of the questions and skipped only a few as I knew that it was important to be honest and not beat around the bush at the interview.
I have chosen to be part of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and would like to work on issues such as education, health and infrastructure. According to me, a good governance and strong administration is really the way forward, considering the chaotic state of affairs in the country. With the pattern of the civil services examination having undergone a change this year, I believe that the new pattern will offer a level-playing field for all candidates.
It also lays emphasis on a student’s aptitude. To sum up my journey, confidence is the key for cracking the civil services. It is important that one enjoys the entire preparation process and looks at the civil services exam as just another test.