From a small Hindi-medium school to the IAS: Surabhi Gautam's journey

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Hailing from Amdara village in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, Surabhi Gautam achieved 50th rank in the Civil Services Exam held in 2016.

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Her father is a lawyer at the civil court in Maihar, Madhya Pradesh, and her mother, Dr Sushila Gautam, is a teacher in Amdara's higher secondary school. Surabhi, who has excelled throughout her academic career, scored 93.4 percent in high school. It was at this time that she decided to become a collector. This score set the foundation for her dreams and subsequent success.

Surabhi's village school lacked basic amenities, and good teachers were hard to come by. She did not receive her school books on time, and on many occasions had to study by the light of a lantern.

After completing her schooling, Surabhi appeared for the Engineering Entrance Exam. She got an excellent score, and became eligible to take admission in a government college in any city. She decided to pursue electronics and communication engineering from Bhopal, where she topped the university and received a gold medal for her performance.

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After college, she joined Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as a nuclear scientist for a year. Surabhi also appeared for several exams like GATE, ISRO, SAIL, MPPSC, Delhi Police, and FCI, and performed well everywhere. She achieved the all-India first rank in the IES exam held in 2013 and the all-India 50th rank in the IAS exam held in 2016.

She says her parents, who have stood by her throughout, are her biggest inspiration. Surabhi has never taken tuitions for any subject; everything she has achieved has been on her own merit.

Though Surabhi wished for a school bus, uniform, and proper studies during school life, she does not have any regrets. She feels it was the lack of basic amenities that made her so ambitious.

She considers her struggle with English one of her biggest challenges. Having studied in a Hindi-medium school, she found it extremely difficult to cope with English once she entered college. Surabhi felt lost but she immediately doubled her efforts and spent time learning English along with her other subjects. In her very first year, she topped the university and received the Chancellor's Award.

Surabhi has cracked all exams on her first attempt, excelling in each one of them. She was quite the star in her village, where each parent would wait for her results, and all children aspired to become like her.

Read this in Hindi

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