Santosha H (28) was appointed as an Indian Foreign Service (IFoS) officer after having cleared the Civil Service Examination (CSE).

Born and raised in a remote village called Mudigere in the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, Santosha had to walk 5 km to reach his school.

“Even today, the village has no access to public transportation. It is like an island which is completely cut off from the mainland. We do not even receive the daily newspaper here,” he says.

Santosha also suffered from hearing impairment in Class 5 and was bullied throughout his childhood because of the pocket hearing aid he carried around.

This pushed Santosha into finding solace in books and libraries instead of making friends or having conversations with anyone.

All Santosha dreamt of while growing up was to clear the UPSC CSE examination and become a government officer.

Now an IFoS officer, Santosha shares a few tips for other future aspirants:

1. Believe in yourself: Believing in yourself, according to Santosha, is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Having the utmost confidence in one’s abilities is what will help in clearing this competitive examination, he advises.

2. Have faith and fear in the exam process: “The examination should instil fear and a sense of deep faith in the aspirants. One must approach it with 100 percent conviction and be willing to give it a very sincere shot,” he adds.

3. Find a reason for attempting the examination: According to Santosha, personal motivation can help one achieve their goals. “Find that and channel your energy on making it happen,” he says.

4. Always make schedules and stick to them: “When it comes to work ethics — one must be very diligent while preparing for this examination. For that, making a schedule or timetable and meticulously abiding by it will help,” he says.