For Vandana, this brilliant success has been no less than a surprise. Despite all odds, she only worked hard in her first attempt for Civil Services Examination and being unaware of benchmarks, she was again preparing for coming Preliminary Examination 2013 seriously.
Achieving 8th rank in coveted Civil Services Examination and that too in first attempt is no small feat for Vandana considering she was born and raised in a village Nasrullagarh, District Saharanpur (UP).
Coming from an orthodox family where education for girls is still unthinkable, Vandana got a mentor in her father who showed guts to send Vandana to Kanya Gurukul, Chotipura (near Muradabad) for schooling.
Vandana had high aspirations and in fact wanted to be a scientist as she was influenced by former President Abdul Kalam and was motivated to do something big. But, due to her family background, she couldn’t get that kind of environment.
But, Vandana was determined to do somewhat different. She understood that education only can help her in coming out of conventional mindset. She kept on exploring opportunities that could match her intellectual interests. By the time she reached 10th standard, she was clear about her future career option – to become IAS officer. And after that whatever she did, she had this thing in mind that her aim is always in centre.
As soon as she completed her LL.B., she indulged in serious preparation for Civil Services Examination.
After having a look at syllabus for Preliminary and Main Examination, she thought that she can do it with self-study. As such, she did not have the luxury to join coaching institutes so; she relied upon her textbooks and commenced preparation.
No one is always successful; so why pretend?
Vandana was very clear in her thoughts that as she doesn’t have IIT/IIM background; she will have to work harder and will have to prove better than the others from prestigious institutions.
I had observed that even many candidates from prestigious institutions also fumble and sometimes takes more than one attempt to succeed so, why to be afraid of this examination.
I knew it is going to be tough but, I had faith in my capabilities. I did not think much about it and just worked hard. My aim was to give my best, that’s all.
When, I had some doubts, I looked at my elder brother, a lawyer, who cleared most of the doubts and extended the help.
First mistake I committed was at Preliminary Examination level where I did not care for ‘Negative Marking’. Fortunately, I scored well and got through.
“Initial feel about chances of success could set in only after my Main Examination was over” said Vandana. “I thought I performed well but, I was not aware of marks trends. Looking at the marks of some of the successful candidates, I evaluated my attempt and it was comforting when I evaluated my performance in Main Examination papers” she added.
Her assessment was proven correct as she is among the top scorers in Main Examination (Written).
Being aware of the unpredictable nature of exam, even after Personality Test, she was not ready to take any chance and was back to her study-plan for Preliminary Examination 2013.
With the result on 3rd May, 2013 a blink changed the fortunes for Vandana as she accomplished the goal with such high rank. Hope her success would change the mindset of people around who still think that girls should be confined to household activities.
Hindi medium draw attention again with success of Vandana (AIR 8, CSE 2012)