All of us take tests in life. Of all kinds. Some of them, we pass, and others, we fail. The ones that we get through usually help us achieve a milestone in life. The ones that we don’t generally leave us disappointed. They make us believe that all that was put in has gone waste and there is nothing to show for all the effort. But is it always so?

In our country, the Indian Civil Services Exam is the mother of all exams. Not only because it deals with extensive subject matter, but also because it has a success rate of only about 0.2%. Although many people call preparing for the exam a ‘national pastime’, there are some students who do work very hard towards it. They join classes and spend 8-14 hours a day studying, knowing that only 2 people out of 1000 people will be successful. 


Quora User Akand Sitra is one of them. He took this exam in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He came close, even reached the final round once, but couldn’t get past it. He also took other similar exams like this but couldn’t clear those too. In his own words, this is what he had to go through:

On a Quora question asking about the journey in becoming an IAS officer, he writes about his journey in not becoming an IAS Officer. He says that even though he couldn’t become an IAS officer like he wanted to, he is satisfied and content, and attributes it to all that he learned during his time preparing for the exam.

It’s tough, isn’t it? Working hard day and night for something you want so dearly but failing at it not once, but thrice. But Akand decided not to care about what didn’t happen for him. Instead, he focused on what he learned during the three years. 

And as any Civil Services aspirant will tell you, you have to study these subjects in depth. In fact, he studied them so thoroughly, he says that it’s equivalent to having an M.A. in all these subjects.

So yes, he did all this and still failed. Gives you an idea of how hard life is. He realized he failed. Many times.

However, what most people don’t realize is that the effort they put in transforms them completely. They are not the same persons who they were when they began their journey. Akand also realized this difference. 

Knowledge and respect, though, are not the only things he got. Hard work never goes in vain. His also paid off and he is now an officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

And it’s not always true that the people who clear the exams have a happy life. Akand tells us about how all the people who go on to become IAS officers are also not always happy.

He then spells out for all of us that failing in certain examinations certainly does not mean you’re failing in life.

Read Akand Sitra’s full story here. 

Design Credit: Palki Sharma.