In this blog, We are going to discuss Online Counselling for UPSC Aspirants in India.
The civil services examination is the toughest and lengthiest exam conducted by Public Service Commission at the Central level and also at the State level.
To get into the bureaucratic system every year lakhs of students prepare and go through this exam, majority of them fail because of limited seats and the toughness of the examination only students make it through this exam and qualify but if they don’t get their area of interest in the bureaucracy they apply again and make this exam more competitive. The probability of qualifying for this exam is .1 per cent.
This exam is multi-tier in nature and takes place in three states: (1) Preliminary (2) Mains (3) Interview, so it demands lots of focus, determination, perseverance and long hours of preparation. Being a civil service aspirant you can’t afford to take a leave from preparation even for a single day.
Those who qualify in preliminary go to the next stage that is Mains and those who qualify Mains go for the interview after the interview the cutoff for selection gets decided so the chances of failure exist at every stage. Civil services students undergo many changes that can be positive or negative based on their preparation and the outcome of the result.
It’s the lengthiest examination and highly stressful that’s why they face psychological and social problems. Suicidal cases have been increased among students and their mental health is at higher risk so not only civil services aspirants other students must take care of their mental health and should constantly seek counselling and guidance from mental health professionals if they feel they are undergoing any kind of psychological or social changes.
Changes during preparation
Civil service aspirants undergo many changes during the preparation of the UPSC examination some of them are positive like enhancing in persona, disciplined and acknowledging their responsibility towards society but what about those who go through repeated failure. There are few possible changes are:
(a) Stress and competition
Remember your old days whenever you heard exams are coming during that time have you ever felt stressed? I did and I still do. It’s quite interesting that it’s our nature of the body that it prepares us for upcoming threats by producing some stress neurotransmitters that help us to fight the situation or to avoid it.
But what if the stressful situation lasts for a longer period of time? Our body tries to resist that situation up to a threshold level, beyond the threshold our body gives up and becomes exhausted. This exhaustion creates psychosomatic problems. Psychosomatic problems are those whose cause is psychological but symptoms are biological. Healthy competition is always a win-win situation but in this exam, it’s a cutthroat competition because
seats are limited and students are in great numbers. The other causes that bring stress in civil service aspirants are:(i) financial crises (ii) Limited resources (iii) repeated failure (iv) inappropriate guidance (v) negative mindset
(b) Insecurity and uncertainty
Nowadays students are not evaluated based on their quality and potentials but are being evaluated by the quantity and result output. Society evaluate students whether they have qualified the exam or not. If a student fails multiple times it brings negative thoughts and that aspirant start evaluating himself negativity and develops feeling of insecurity.
There is higher uncertainty in this exam because seats are limited, number of attempts are limited and students are in lakhs every year so during the preparation many students come across some questions that is whether they are capable of it or not, whether they took right decision for preparing civil services or not, whether they need to quit after repeated failure, are they not good enough and what they will do after this. This insecurity and uncertainty brings depresogenic thought pattern and leads to psychological problems.
(c) Relationship problems
There is an old saying ‘You have to be a saint if you are preparing for civil services’ means you have to cut off yourself from social media, friends, family and interpersonal relationships a lot because you have to maintain a disciplined life and you can not afford to give much time to others.
You need to learn to control your cravings and desires by limiting your social circle. The preparation of civil services after some time becomes monotonous and a routine based lifestyle hinders social interaction and brings loneliness, boredom and irritability so mental health professionals suggest them to talk to your near ones on regular basis.
(d) Other significant changes
Self-integrity and ego gets threatened by repeated failure and to overcome this student take a defensive approach. Repeated failure encourage frustration and self-harming activities. Parents of few students put higher demands that leads to parental expectations. Adjustment problem is one the significant and most important while talking about preparing for exams you cannot procrastinate for long time, need to maintain yourself charged up with healthy lifestyle.
Finding out the strategies to ignore the outcome of failure and avoiding the societal pressure, increasing potential and performance to have edge upon others.
Why UPSC Aspirants Need Online Counselling Therapy
UPSC aspirants go through many significant changes during the preparation like financial, psychological, social and economical. They undergo through monotonous and highly competitive lifestyle that brings enormous amount of pressure, fear of failure, personal and societal pressure and as well as feeling of uncertainty and insecurity.
During repeated failure and living in monotonous lifestyle these significant cause hinders the growth and lower the self esteem, brings feeling of ineffectiveness, produce anxiety and depression along with suicidal thoughts. To overcome this it is suggestible that civil service aspirants need to share their problems to others who are important to them and when they don’t find anyone or the problem is complex and severe then they
should visit to a nearby mental health professional for understanding the causes of their depresogenic thought and inappropriate behavioural patterns. After careful examination mental health professional will diagnose the problem and take corrective steps.
Benefits of Online Counselling for UPSC Aspirants:
Online Counselling can help to get rid of minor psychological problems of UPSC aspirants and in server case counsellor can refer to psychiatrist. Counselling can provide useful benefits like:
(1) Helps in restoring the balance between self and lifestyle and can make you aware how to manage the monotonous lifestyle.
(2) Increases self esteem and reduce stress by developing rational thought patterns.
(3) Helps in developing the strategies that may increase the productivity and efficiency of students.
(4) Helps in changing the depresogenic thoughts and lower the suicidal ideation
(5) counselling can make you aware how you can focus upon your preparation with growth oriented approach with mastery of skills.
(6) It may suggest you how to bring balance between different aspects of life.
(7) Helps to reduce the feeling of inferiority and uncertainty.
(8) Helps to get rid out of loneliness and convert it into the solitude.
How Online Counselling Works for UPSC Aspirants
In initial session students can talk to counsellor via tele counselling or video conferencing or can visit to nearby good counsellor, it’s best that during the covid situation and availability of tele counselling students must approach to counsellor via online or tele counselling mode.
In initial session counsellor will develop rapport take the notes of your problem and also take your the background information. If the problem is not that much severe and can be eliminated via guidance or talk therapy then they go for it.
For complicated issues they will tell you to go for different therapist that best suits to you and your problem and for this they can take any mode of counselling that is face to face or online counselling. Counsellor will diagnose the problem and after providing talk therapy or other psychological therapy terminate the session and proceed with follow-up later on.
Ph.D. scholar and counsellor, Aligarh Muslim University.