Not just another IAS aspirant

While it may not be entirely inaccurate to say that cyberspace may be saturated with desperate accounts of IAS-aspirants hailing from smaller towns. But I’m willing to bet that 17-year-old Amisha is special. Here’s why!

“It was not easy to convince my family that this is the path I want to embark on. They would have been comforted by the idea of me aspiring to be a nurse or get into the teaching domain, but I try to drown out all the noise. What matters is my firm belief that the only thing separating one aspirant to the next is the level of hard work put in and that’s all that matters.”

Amisha recalls the excitement at getting a smartphone after her exams. But rather than getting caught in the Tik Tok tide, she leveraged the power of the internet to help her study. “My father gifted me a 4G mobile phone after my boards so I can broaden my preparation. It also helped me connect with other aspirants and civil servants across the country who helped streamline my curriculum.”

I was so enthralled by her speech, that I almost forgot to ask her something I should have brought up at the start of the meeting. Why UPSC?

“I used to be amazed at how indifferent people were to civic issues. People in my neighbourhood seem to have made their peace with acute shortage of public transport or have grown tolerant towards the rampant eve-teasing. I believe that we deserve better. There has been some progress over the years, but development is slow and scarce. I want to change this.”

This is not a tale of wishful thinking, especially coming from a girl who was brazen enough to file an affidavit and change her name as soon as she turned 16 (because why not?) and tirade against the dangers of dowry to her wide-eyed relatives.

She’s almost crossed a year away from home on a trip that turned out to be her first outside Bihar. How has the transition been?

“No one in my village had studied in RVTI, Bangalore before me – I found out about it myself. Although I was a little hesitant to speak in English at first, I soon got over it. The employability skills course offered by Quest Alliance as part of the computer course I’m pursuing has been very helpful too. Although proficiency in English is not a prerequisite to clearing UPSC, my observation has been that English-speaking students get greater attention in coaching classes so I wanted to be confident in it. Meeting different kinds of people in class also has been a huge learning experience.”

On course to sit for BHU’s entrance exams later this month, Amisha hopes to make her family – especially her father – proud. Despite their differences on a range of topics, she is absolutely sure nothing would make him happier than being proved wrong this one time.

Anu Thomas, Senior Content Editor at Quest Alliance

Author: thelearnerbyquest

Quest Alliance's space for reflection on the education sector

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