The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented crisis. There has risen an immense sense of uncertainty for one’s future as the country continues to be in lockdown for more than a month.

There’s uncertainty over the date of the Prelims paper; there’s the additional stress of missing classes, the fear of not being able to wrap up the syllabus. Planned schedules are coming to naught as the crisis and the gloom grows.

In these trying times, it is even more important to stay focused and wade through the gloom to successfully reach the other side. Here are a few reasons why and how you should continue with the preparation with lifted spirits during this time.

Being alone is a boon, not a bane: It was during The Great Plague of 1665-66 that Isaac Newton made the massive discoveries about the Gravitational Force and devised the early Calculus. That one year when he lived in complete seclusion is termed as Newton’s Annus Mirabilis or the “Year of Wonder.” Being lonely is therefore not altogether bad, in fact, it can be utilized to make the most of your time and awake the Newton within.

We are all in this together: Even the most developed nations across the world are suffering tremendously due to the pandemic. Most of the states in the USA have shut down schools and colleges till August. The brightest minds around the world are working to develop a vaccine or an antiviral drug to fight the disease. In the meantime, the lockdown and physical distancing are the only prevention in our hands. These are things that are completely beyond an individual’s control and wasting time worrying or getting anxious over its consequences is as such futile and unproductive.

Changing with time is the only way to success: Humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risks associated with it. However, as Napoleon once said, “One must change one’s tactics every 10 years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.” The pace at which things change is only going to accelerate. Online classes and online studies are not very unfamiliar processes however the UPSC preparation culture in India is such that people believe that only by living in particular areas or in particular cities can they achieve their desired goals. It is time for aspirants to realise that ‘online’ is the future of academics as well as office-based work and they must evolve themselves thus.

Devise suitable work plans: It may sound redundant to many but maintaining a suitable schedule goes a long way in staying upright and fit. A work plan doesn’t necessarily need to concur with the long-accepted standards of “early to bed and early to rise”. This is because there are individualistic needs and attitudes when it comes to studying in a comfort zone of your own. Find that comfort zone of studying, map it out, and stick to it. As psychological stress is too high during this time, there would definitely be instances where you might fail to follow the plan arduously. Don’t get too harsh on yourself when that happens as it is only too natural, just talk to yourself, make adjustments, cover-up for the loss another day, but most importantly, remember to not make this a habit.

Turn your loneliness into solitude: Get creative, watch good movies, read novels, pen down your thoughts, meditate, exercise, and get to know yourself to the fullest, probably you’d find at the end of the present crisis, a much better version of yourself.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain” — Vivian Greene

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