Before going into the details, let us understand the meaning of the word hobby. The Oxford Dictionary defines the hobby as – “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure”. In other words, hobby is any activity that lets you relax by relieving from the stress. Primarily, hobbies are those activities that aren’t associated with work.
With this understanding, an IAS exam aspirant may think – “hobbies are not my cup of tea”. This is because, an aspirant might be under the impression neither one has time for nurturing a hobby nor the pursuing hobbies are directly related to the success in the exam. If you have similar thoughts, it’s time to change them. Because, the Detailed Application Form (DAF) has a special column on hobbies and in the personality test, the UPSC Board will certainly ask a question or two about your hobbies.
Now, the tricky question is – “What are the hobbies that are most helpful for clearing the IAS exam?” For the benefit of Civil Services Exam aspirants, Jagran Josh is recommending the following six hobbies that give you pleasure as well as the place in the final merit list.
Primarily, travelling gives you a break from the daily monotonous life. Travelling provides you the necessary space to ‘recharge’ yourself and to connect with your innermost self. In addition to the recreational aspects, travelling offers a wide variety of learning opportunities for a civil services aspirant.
By travelling to different places, an aspirant can learn about the language, clothes, cuisine, climate, art forms, land forms, architecture, industries and social problems specific to a region. The experience accumulated during travelling help an aspirant in understanding the concepts learned through books at a deeper level.
It is advisable to maintain a travel journal and write the new things you learn along the way. This will help you in remembering things for a long time. Travelling as a hobby is most suitable for those having optional subjects like Geography and History. Since questions are asked about the native district in the personality test, explore your surrounding areas as much as possible.
2. Watching movies
One may wonder how movies are helpful for the preparation of the IAS exam. Many think, watching movies adversely affects the preparation. But, this is not true. If you are selective and have enough control over the content you watch, watching movies proves beneficial than any other hobby.
Movies are essentially the mirrors of the society they come from. Now-a-days, with the help of subtitles, one can watch movies made in regional languages of the country and other foreign languages like French, American and Korean. Choose such movies that relate to the syllabus of the exam. For instance, movies on World Wars (e.g. Schindler's List), Indian independence struggle (e.g. Gandhi and Shatranj Ke Khilari), science and technology (e.g. Gravity and The Martian), disasters (e.g. Volcano) and socioeconomic and political issues (e.g. Salaam Bombay, Chankravyuh, Gangajal, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Haider, Roza, Rang De Basanti) help you assimilate your subjects in less time.
3. Internet surfing
The popular notion is – “one must have air, water, food and an internet connection to live.” In fact, in a typical day, one consumes more data than air, water and food combined! This is all the more true for a civil services aspirant. To succeed in the IAS exam, one has to have access to the internet and avail the benefits it offers. As the internet surfing has become an essential component of the preparation, why don’t you turn it into a hobby?
With internet surfing, you get exposed to data and information relevant to the examination (e.g. jagranjosh, pib, prs, etc). It also enables you to find and discuss with fellow aspirants and toppers about the problems you are facing. Internet surfing also saves you a lot of money as most of the online content is available for free. This hobby also helps you in continuing your preparation from your hometown.
As a wise man said – “books are the man’s best friends”. Books expose you to new ideas and ideologies. They help to stretch your imagination and expand your thought process. Besides the knowledge and wisdom, books written by prominent authors help you in improving your language skills. In fact, it is being observed that the experience of reading fiction proved to be helpful in answering questions purely based on imagination in the ‘GS Mains Essay’ exam.
If all the above four hobbies – travelling, watching movies, internet surfing and reading books – have an element of consumption, the blogging helps you to create something new. Blogging helps you in expressing opinions to a wider audience on the web space. In a blog, you can write about anything you want. Be it, your day-to-day experiences, your views on social, political and economic issues, etc.
Blogging helps you in improving your writing style, refine your thought process and build a personality of your own. These qualities help you in clearing the mains written and the personality test.
Yes, you heard it right. A serious profession like teaching can also be taken up as a hobby. You can teach children in your neighbourhood or college going students or other ‘junior’ civil services aspirants. You can also enroll as a volunteer in non-profit organizations like ‘Teach For India’.
Teaching improves your communication skills and instills love for learning. From the civil services exam point of view, teaching helps you in gaining mastery over the content you teach. If nurtured in a disciplined manner, this hobby will help you in all the stages of the examination.
Remember, even the Rome was not built in a day. To make an activity as a hobby, you must invest sufficient time and energy in a disciplined manner. Persistence is the key to success.
Best wishes from Jagran Josh!