Big Motivational Story
JAMIR SHAIKH, RANK 18 – IFOS 2018
Interview – 180 Marks, InsightsIAS OFFLINE Student
Read Jamir’s Prelims Strategy HERE
Hello friends, this is Jamir Munir Shaikh from Pune District. I am an Insights student in Bangalore since 2016 and I am writing about my experience of last 7 years of UPSC journey, which was a roller coaster ride for me. I would like to thank Vinay Sir who guided and supported me in my preparation since 2016.
Till 4th class I was below average student and I was very sensitive child. Many things impacted my personality and after 5th class I never participated in any programmes other than studies. I started improving academically after 5th class, thanks to my mother as she used to tell me that you are an intelligent boy and you will become a big person one day. When I look back, I realize that how parent’s role is important to shape children’s mind. I took her words seriously and decided that ‘I will do my best’ and I never looked back since then.
Everything was going smooth, suddenly my father fell ill, who was working as a police constable. That was a very bad time for our family. We are 5 siblings (2 brothers and 2 sisters) and among them I am the youngest one. We didn’t have strong financial back up. My father had faith in God so he survived but he left his job due to injustice at work place and hectic work conditions. That was the year 2003-04 when we faced poverty like situations. Year 2005 came with mixed feelings. It was a joy for me as I passed my board exam with distinction and joined Science College. However, unluckily my brother who qualified his 12th with distinction, was not being sent to college due to monetary problems. Even my sister’s education was stopped after 12th due to financial issues.
When I entered the college, I could not perform well in 11th standard as science was a difficult stream for me and I came from vernacular medium. I lost hope of getting anything good in life, but my elder brother and mother showed me a ray of hope in that gloomy situation. I took this as a challenge and I scored 86.50% in 12th class. I was one of the toppers in my college. I did a lot of hard work. I still remember many times I used to study till 4 AM in the morning. I hardly slept for 5 hours for 3months before my board exam. Finally, hard work paid off!
Then, I joined B.Tech.( Agricultural Engg.) at MPKV, Rahuri in Ahmednagar district. I was doing well in graduation but due to some reasons I failed in mathematics in 2nd semester by 1 mark. I took grace mark and after that I studied very hard to pass graduation with 80.50%. During my graduation my family got cheated in agricultural land selling and we got very less money than actual price. My father was doing farming but his dream of developing our land was shattered due to corrupt practices at administration level. All these issues were forcing me to study hard and dream big to do something substantial for my family and many such families like ours who are being mishandled and looted by corrupt administrators. And then my journey of UPSC started in 2011 after passing out B.Tech.
We eight friends moved to Delhi for preparation. We faced some hardships due to harsh summer, difficulties in finding out room etc. once we got settled, we started very serious preparation. We completed coaching for optional subjects and by January onwards we started prelim’s preparation. It was very difficult to score even 30 marks in GS. My highest marks were in the range of 80- 82 in test papers. Whereas in CSAT tests, I was getting 130 to 140 marks. I was very much scared about my prelim’s result. When I wrote my first paper, it was OK! But in second paper I realised that I filled wrong serial number in OMR sheet. And when I approached invigilator, he got angry and blamed me for my lack of alertness. He even went on saying that people like you don’t deserve to get into the government job. I was shattered. I hardly attempted 30 questions of CSAT. And I failed in my first prelim. With that shock I shifted to Pune as I was not comfortable in negative atmosphere. I wrote different state exams but I failed in almost in all. Even I failed in Bank exams, SSC, CAPF, and entrance exams of different institutes where residential coaching facilities were being provided.
I hardly went home that year. I was avoiding people even my family members just because I was feeling ashamed of myself. I did Vipassana course in Nashik for 10 days and after that healing started. I regained my confidence and I wrote one entrance exam and I qualified. It gave me immense happiness. One of my close friends Himanshu Shukla from Lucknow insisted me to come to Delhi again and then I shifted to Delhi on 1st January 2013.
When I reached his place, I started my serious preparation. I wrote CDS, NDA, CAPF exams and I qualified prelims of all. Even in that year I qualified IBPS bank SO exam finally. It boosted my confidence. But we both skipped our UPSC CSE attempt due to fear of changes in UPSC syllabus that year. It was the biggest mistake of my preparation phase because when I wrote papers I was getting near about 290 marks where as cut-off was 241 for general category. And even in that year UPSC had changed pattern of mains so aspirants got 6 months for main exam. In this way I just extended my success by one year. That year I wrote Jamia Milia Islamia Institute’s RCA exam, I qualified and joined it.
In October month of 2013 my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer which was a malignant tumour. This put me and my whole family under emotional trauma. Doctors were speaking only about quality of life and were not giving any assurance about her recovery. We faced lots of financial hardships that year. Luckily, I was in Jamia so not much of expenditure was required. I studied very hard and pushed myself to overcome the fear of prelim and qualified it with decent score. After one week of prelim result my mother passed away and for my mains, I was left with only 40 days. I felt that my very purpose of starting this preparation has got over. It was emotional setback for all of us. I could not even stay at home for more than 3 days after all rituals. I left for Delhi with that emotional vacuum and tried very hard to study but I could not. That year, I failed just by 37 marks. Then I decided to give my last best shot in 2015 exam.
After mains result of 2014 I joined vision test series, and I was rigorously following Insight’s secure initiative. Everything was perfect but I underestimated prelim this year. I hardly practiced test papers. Even though, I had good command over GS paper, I failed because of anxiety and stress in exam hall. I changed my 30 to 35 answers in GS paper due to over thinking and failed that year’s prelim by 0.66 marks. Again one more failure.
After prelim I did not study at all till December 2015. I was living in isolation. It was the worst phase of my life. I was having suicidal thoughts every time. I was hardly talking to people and whole day I was just criticising and blaming myself and my situation. I was comparing my situations with others which almost destroyed my self esteem. When I told all this depression to my same friend Himanshu, he called me to Bangalore, who was Insights student that time. I took permission from my family members and I moved to Bangalore.
When I reached in Bangalore, the climate itself made me positive. I spoke to Vinay sir next day and I wrote core batch exam. I entered into core group of 25 candidates. That year Vinay sir, my elder brother, all my family members and some friends like Himanshu , Monish, Santosh sir, Avadhoot, Rohit (IRS), Chandrakant, etc helped me to get stable emotionally. I put all my efforts and studied as a fresh candidate. I solved Insights test papers thoroughly along with quiz and UPSC previous year’s papers. I prepared GK today current Affairs and solved CAPF, NDA, CDS of last 5 years papers. In Insights practice papers I was getting 140 to 164 marks in last 10 tests. And finally I got 157 marks in Prelim. I qualified for Forest Exam also. I was confused whether to appear for forest or not. But I appeared for mains as Vinay sir suggested me to write. I failed Civil mains but I got interview call for Forest exam. Finally I could not qualify forest exam by 30 to 35 marks. That time I was more negative about my preparation.
I started my civil preparation again after my forest result in March 2017. This time I changed my optional from Geography to Anthropology. Even though I had started liking forest service, I could not study for prelim more extensively due to anthropology preparation. I hardly studied for a month dedicatedly and I just qualified for civil. I felt bad because I was not writing forest exam that year. I again failed in civil by 20 marks this year. And finally I was left with one civil and 2 forest attempts.
For 2018th attempt, I kept myself positive throughout the journey and decided to keep my preparation simple. I decided to enjoy the process and gave time to myself through exercise and recreation. I watched many movies, watched web series, went out with friends, taught to some friends etc. I kept my thinking positive since beginning and in that my all family members, and close friends like Jaya, Himanshu, Santosh sir(college senior), Krutika (IRS), Chandrakant, Akshay, Vijay, Vinanth, Arun and many other friends helped me a lot. I qualified prelim for Forest services. I appeared for state mains that year and after that I started my serious preparation for forest exam. I planned the strategy for next 2 months for forest mains, which converted into call for interview.
This year, for interview I mentally prepared myself. I gave one mock at KSG. I just interacted with my college senior Santosh sir and few friends. I confidently faced interview board chaired by B.S. Bassi sir. My interview was on the first day (28/01/2019) in morning session. It went well except last 2 questions. But still I managed to get 180 marks. And I got AIR 18 and first in Maharashtra state. I finally got the service which I have started liking since last 3 years.
I would also like to tell that today my family is stable and happy. As mentioned above my both brothers and sisters have completed their education and are pursuing their passion. My elder brother and sister in law, both are government servants. My father is healthy and happy. I owe my success to all of them because it could happen only because of their unconditional support and love.
This is all about my journey, Thanks for reading it till the end. I am feeling very happy to note down my journey on this platform. I want to convey only one massage that ‘NEVER GIVE UP’. Some candidates are very lucky to have strong financial, academic, and family support and they get through easily. But many people face lots of hardships. This exam is very neutral to reward each candidate as per his/her study level. Have faith in you and just show your dedication, discipline in preparation. Keep the process simple and do not over burdened yourself with books and materials. Be objective at every stage of preparation, set small targets, and maintain good health (physical plus mental). Keep pushing yourself beyond your imaginary limits. Be optimistic and help others in preparation. This journey is always a win-win situation even when you do not get result. You either get success or you learn, but you never fail.
All the best to all of you to pass through a wonderful transformative phase of your life.