“All this feels a bit surreal, to be honest. While I knew my name would feature somewhere in the list, clinching the 2nd rank is something that I must admit I did not anticipate,” says a jubilant Akshat Jain who has secured the All India Rank-2 in the 2019 Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination. No wonder that his phone has been ringing without a second’s break since the results were announced.
In this exclusive interview with The Better India, Akshat shares with us his strategy for preparation, time-management and his vision for the onerous task ahead as an IAS officer.
Despite all the excitement and media frenzy around him, Akshat is a picture of calm, patiently answering questions without any hurry.
Akshat’s educational background
A graduate from IIT Guwahati with a degree in design, 23-year-old Akshat’s early influence to prepare for the UPSC were his civil servant parents. Akshat’s father, Mr D C Jain, is now the Joint Director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), New Delhi and mother, Mrs Simmi Jain, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer is the ADG of National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN) in Jaipur.
His first attempt at the Civil Service Examination was a month after he graduated in 2017. While Akshat could not clear the attempt, he says it was a great learning experience for him.
On preparation time
While Akshat did not attend any coaching classes for his General Studies paper, he says, “I cannot say that I spent ‘x’ number of hours each day preparing. Instead, I would chalk out the syllabus I wanted to complete each day and ensure that by the end of the day I had that done.”
Speaking about how studying for the examination can sometimes get lonely, Akshat adds, “It is a lonely journey but what helps is having family and friends around.”
“I made sure that I took adequate breaks in between the studies and would spend that time talking to friends. It helped me stay focused and also helped in fighting the loneliness.”
The practical applicability of anthropology caught Akshat’s eye which he chose as his optional paper. He feels that a lot of what the subject covers is practical and can be applied to real-life situations.
On the biggest challenge
“I feel that one has to put in immense amount of hard work to prepare and clear these examinations and that in turn requires one to be extremely patient,” advises Akshat.
Another thing that Akshat mentioned is the sacrifice that one makes to maintain a rigorous study schedule. While all the hard work has paid off in Akshat’s case, it can be difficult.
“Given that the decision to write the examination was entirely mine, the onus of preparing and doing well fell only on me. I had to back myself and do it to the best of my ability. I was absolutely determined to make it,” he says.
On the way forward
Akshat, as of now, is just letting the feeling sink in and is taking the time to look back at the year.
He is also looking forward to serving the people. “Healthcare and education are two subjects that are close to my heart. I intend to use the position to help others,” he informs.
We, at The Better India, wish Akshat all the very best as he embarks on this new journey.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)