Akand Sitra (IIT Madras)
To be frank, my aim to join the Civil Services is less than 10 months old.
I was always a naive and an innocent guy who did not know much about the country or about myself. I was in a rat race, and my mind was so closed that, in 10th standard, I took up Science stream, because everyone else was doing it. I wrote IIT-JEE because everybody else was doing it. Luckily, I was good at what I was doing, and I joined IIT-M for my BTech in Biotechnology. At that moment also, I did not know what to do with my life, I was still in the rat race.
My self-discovery started when I joined NSS in my first year. It was compulsory to join either NCC, NSO or NSS. I was always bad at sports, and I was scared to join NCC because of outdoor exercises, so I joined NSS. We did a lot of good work, being a volunteer. I went to rural schools and taught math to small kids. The next year, I became an NSS coordinator. This time, I took 20 first years to a far off town in AP which was hit by a flood. We cleaned the beach and taught in five rural schools. It was a great experience. I understood that I could lead people and realized I had some societal values in me.
Then there was no stopping me. I became coordinators for various organisations. I became the Sustainability Network ambassador of the hostel. I worked hard in team leading roles, and I started to discover the real me. Then, in third year, me and a bunch of friends started the first festival of our department.
Starting anything new requires a lot of courage and planning. I had to enthuse and influence my juniors a lot, as we were doing the fest for the first time. It was a grand success. Then, I became sure of myself that I could implement new programms and new schemes well.
I was a Facebook addict, and I had one good thing – I read newspaper everyday, a practice which my father taught me. So, I used to write articles on FB and on my blog about various issues that plagued the society. And, we used to have long informed debates on it(Through comments). So, I understood the society well.
Then in December 2012, I got placed in a good high paying company in Bangalore through campus. But, I was not satisfied with the job. In January, I started asking myself the right questions and started to analyze the real me. I was smart, I had social values, was a leader and I could implement and organize events. I was aware of the various issues. Then, it dawned on me that these were the qualities that an IAS officer requires. Then, in February 2013, I started studying for prelims of 2013 which were 3 months away. I was determined this time, I was not the initial naïve guy who was in the rat race. I came out of it, through self realization and started working hard for it.
I graduated out of IIT Madras in May, and gave prelims in Bangalore. I knew I would pass, and started studying fully for Mains from May 17th. Then I joined my job in mid July. Thankfully, the first few months weren’t hectic, I could study for around 7 hours everyday on top of working all day. Then, it started becoming hectic, and I quit my job on October 23rd 2013.
I could take a tough decision(Quitting an awesome job wasn’t easy). This preparation for the past ten months has changed me a lot. It has broadened my outlook, it has strengthened my knowledge and I loved studying every bit of it.
That is why, I want to join IAS. I realized I am fit for it. I have evolved into a better human being. I am out of the rat race and hope to serve this nation sometime in the future.
(We thought this comment here should not get lost in the blog in the deluge of comments, so publishing it as a post for the benefit of thousands of readers)