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Fought Hearing Loss and Sickness to Get into IAS, Gave CSE with IV Drip

IAS officer Saumya Sharma lost her power of hearing at the young age of 16! She did not lose hope and went on to prepare for law and then for UPSC CSE. She cleared the examination in her first attempt with AIR-9, despite facing many challenges on the way.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Can you imagine the plight of a girl who loses her sense of hearing at the young age of 16? It’s hard to even imagine! But this is what happened to IAS officer Saumya Sharma when she was still in school.

Today, Indian Masterminds brings to you Ms. Sharma’s life story and how, despite all the challenges and difficulties that she faced early on in life, she still achieved her dream of becoming a civil servant.

LOSS OF HEARING AT AGE 16

Ms. Sharma was born and brought up in the capital city of Delhi where she lived with her parents and younger brother. Both her parents are doctors while her younger brother is studying medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College.

She had been promising in her studies since the beginning and topped her school in the 10th board exams. Life was going well, and no one saw it coming what was about to happen. Her life took a 360-degree turn in August 2010 when suddenly, out of the blue, she completely lost her hearing!

“It started with a very loud buzzing in my ears in August 2010, but the hearing loss was sudden and went to the extent where I could not hear my voice. Most of the time during my class XI, I was in and out of the hospital,” Ms. Sharma had shared with the media.

She lost her hearing suddenly and met several doctors after that but to no avail. Her parents and doctors tried to understand the cause of it and help her regain her hearing senses but in vain. This was a shocking and breaking moment in her life. She was so traumatized that it took her some time to recover from the shock. But she understood that she needs to keep going and decided to make use of hearing aids to assist her. 

FROM LAW TO CIVIL SERVICES

Ms. Sharma wanted to become a lawyer. Being a brilliant student in academics, she got admission in the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bengaluru, but she opted for National Law University (NLU) Delhi, instead. She started pursuing her graduation in B.A. LLB. It was during this time that she realized that she actually wanted to get into civil services and become an IAS officer to bring betterment to society.

She explains, “Once you study law, your inclination naturally turns towards social issues. You read about constitutional law, human rights, and many other things, which makes you eager to do something for society.”

UPSC PREPARATION

It was in February 2017 when Ms. Sharma finally decided to write the UPSC CSE exam, which left her with only four months for preparation. She did not take up any coaching for this and kept on self-preparing for prelims along with her college studies.

She looked at the UPSC syllabus carefully and prepared the study material accordingly. Next, she watched the interviews of toppers from previous years and made a strategy. After this, she made a schedule of her studies and followed her timetable religiously. 

Her last college exam was on 2 June 2017 and only 16 days later, she appeared and passed the prelims exam, bringing pride to herself and her family. Now she was excited to give her Mains exam, but fate had other plans for her.

FELL SICK RIGHT BEFORE MAINS

A few days before the mains exam, Ms. Sharma developed a high fever. While suffering from fever, she wrote her essay paper and when she returned home after giving the paper, her fever had reached 103 degrees. Her condition turned so worse that it was difficult to even get up from the bed.

But she decided not to let her hard work go to waste due to fever and went to give the GS paper 1 with a 103-degree fever. During the lunch break, she had to take an IV drip due to high fever, but she still courageously went ahead and wrote the GS paper 2. Although many times during the paper she felt dizzy due to weakness, her high spirits kept her going.

SUCCESS AT LAST

With only four months of preparation without coaching, and with a high fever and an IV drip to keep her going, she managed to clear the exam successfully in her very first attempt, scoring AIR-9!

After her UPSC success, she said that she believes that smart work is also very important along with hard work. Keeping this in mind, she advised aspirants to practice a lot of writing as well as reading. Apart from this, she also said they should listen to the interviews of the toppers, and after knowing everyone’s strategy, adopt the strategy which best suited them.


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