At the age of 24, S Divyadharshini secured 1st rank in the Civil Services Exam 2010. What is it that made her taste success at such a young age? The answer lies in effective strategy. Read on and find out what the Tamil Nadu girl has to say in an exclusive interview to Gulshan Sharma about her attempts at the CSE and more
Q. Tell us about your childhood, family background, schooling and higher education.
A. I was born and brought up in Chennai. My father V Shanmugam is a private consultant while mother S Padmavathi is a home-maker. I have an elder sister Priyadarshini who works in Bangalore and a younger brother Gokulnath.I scored 74% marks in the CBSE board class 10 and 86% in class 12. I then did my BA BL (Hons) from Dr Ambedkar Law University in Chennai.
Q. When and why did you choose to become a civil servant?
A. I took the decision when I was studying in college. The reason behind this was to bring positive changes in my capacity as a civil servant.
Q. Was CSE a planned decision? How did your parents support you?
A. Yes, it was a planned decision. Initially, when I told my parents that I wanted to do CSE they left it to me to decide for my life and also stood by my side. My parents had motivated me, supported me and stood by me all the way even after a year of completing my college when I was preparing for CSE.
Q. Please tell about your icon, hobbies and interests.
A. I watch cricket, listen to music, watch movies. I love to hang out with my friends during leisure time and whenever I feel the need to relax.
Q. How many attempts did it take for you to succeed?
A. This was my 2nd attempt. I could not clear the prelims in the 1st attempt.
Q. For how many months did you prepare before taking the CSE?
A. After my failed attempt at CSE, I took one year to prepare for the second attempt at the prelims.
Q. How confident were you about succeeding in the CSE? What was your first reaction when you heard that you have cleared the exam with flying colors?
A. After the personality test (interview), I believed that I had done the interview well and will get into a good service. But never did I expect to top the charts and it took me a few days to believe the news.
Q. How helpful are coaching institutes?
A. A genuine and a good coaching center would provide a proper guidance to route us through the initial days when we don’t know when or where to start. Further, the one best thing about coaching centre is the tests that help us to ascertain where we stand and how much more effort we need to put in.
Q. Did you use internet? How helpful was it? Did you use any current affairs website?
A. Yes I used the internet as an important source of information during my second attempt. It helps a lot. You can get latest information and in-depth analysis on the net. I used current affairs websites available on the net especially those that are dedicated towards CSE.
Q. Any advice to civil services aspirants?
A. Confidence will help you face the exam better. It is a very laborious exam as it spans one full year and keeping one’s morale high will surely make way for success.
Q. What is your goal in life and how will you now work towards it?
A. I want to work to my satisfaction wherever I am posted. I will strive to work hard for the society and people.