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6 Attempts at UPSC Crushed My Mental Health; Here’s How I Overcame the Pain

Abhijeet Yadav secured AIR 653 in CSE 2017 but did not get posted to any service. His experience of failing six times in the UPSC exam and overcoming the pain to start afresh is going viral on social media.

“I’ve spent five years of my life on the UPSC journey.” This is what Abhijeet Yadav, who secured an AIR (All India Rank) of 653 in the CSE (Civil Service Examination) 2017, tweeted. Like all aspirants, Abhijeet’s journey began with the confidence of clearing the examination in the first attempt. However, that didn’t happen.

Abhijeet’s journey started in 2014, when he attempted the examination for the first time. However, he was unable to clear the prelims even in his first two attempts. Subsequently, he cleared the prelims in the next two attempts but was unable to get through the mains. Thereafter, even after clearing the examination and securing a rank, he was unable to get a service.

While this sounds demotivating and frustrating, Abhijeet’s tweet is one filled with lessons he learnt at every stage. The failures impacted his mental health and there were many moments of wanting to give up.

In his tweet, Abhijeet very lucidly lists 10 important lessons that kept him going.

Abhijeet Yadav

1. You will fail, get used to it.
2. Focus on keeping yourself healthy.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
4. The skills you build on the UPSC journey will help you no matter where you go.
5. Sometimes, after a failure, it might feel like you’re hitting ‘ground zero’ all over again. This could be after prelims, mains or even post the interview.
6. UPSC prep is a mini course in dealing with life itself.
7. Stop caring about what others will think.
8. Life isn’t fair.
9. Have some self-respect.
10. It’s hard to live up to everyone’s expectations. Just live up to your own.

While Abhijeet’s journey started with wanting to join the services, he says that each attempt and the subsequent failure led him to learn so much about life itself.

Abhijeet is currently working on building a platform called Pensil, which provides digital tools for independent educators to teach online. The biggest life lesson that Abhijeet has learnt is to keep trying without worrying about what the consequences might be.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)