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‘Personality development is essential for Civil Services’, says Apeejay Saket alumna

Civil service aspirant Aastha Pundhir advises students to polish their communication and networking skills while at school



Aastha Pundhir is preparing for Civil Service Examinations at this very moment as one reads the interview. She is an Apeejay School, Saket alumnus (batch of 2017). After completing her schooling, Aastha went on to pursue B Com Hons from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. In an exclusive interview, the would-be civil servant  explains the 8+8+8 model of study as well as shares her journey from being a very diffident student to becoming a confident, independent, strong-headed girl. Edited excerpts:

How many hours do you study in a day?

I plan to put in a minimum of eight hours of study every day. I follow the 8+8+8 model which means 8 hours of study, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours to do everything else which includes, exercise, eating, watching something on the mobile and other activities.

We know it hasn’t been a long time but still nostalgia is calling. Tell us some of your best memories from your school days?

Well, there’s this part that I shared in my school’s farewell speech which I remember quite vividly. I spoke about an incident that happened in class nursery. I was a very shy girl back then. I was like the quietest girl ever. When I was in nursery-B, my teacher Yash ma’am was suddenly called by the Principal after all the students settled in the classroom. All the students ran after the teacher as she left the class, except for me and another student. When Yash ma’am came back, she punished all the students for leaving the class without her permission. She made all the students stand, and that included me and another classmate also. But what pinched me was that I did not try to even defend myself at that point. I was so shy back then. So, I drew a parallel in my farewell speech that when compared to that day, I had transformed a lot and was giving the speech as the head girl of the school. Apeejay Saket gave me that confidence which led to my development. I became surer about myself as a person. I believe that today, I am a very strong and confident woman who will always stand up for herself.

Apeejay Saket seems very close to your heart. What do you say about that?

The person that I have become today – my personality, my values, I owe it all to my school. I got into the best college because of the immense nourishment and encouragement I received at school.  I am still in touch with many of my school teachers, and whenever I talk to them it feels like I am revisiting the wonderful parts of school life again. Apeejay Saket gave me so many opportunities which I did not even imagine of. I participated in almost everything at school and that really developed my personality.

What advice would you like to give to a current student at the school?

I would say participate in all the activities and don’t hesitate to take initiatives. There are many students who are unable to do that because they are reluctant to ask for opportunities from the teachers. The teachers are mentors, they are beautiful humans who will burn themselves like a candle for you to shine and will always encourage you to take up new learning opportunities.

What are your future targets?

My aspiration is to become an IAS officer. I want to contribute to the country in any manner I can. UPSC is one exam where I can use my academic excellence for the greater good of the country.

What advice would you like to give to a student who is aiming to prepare for the Civil Service exams?

For school students who have the vision for civil services, I would say focus on developing your personality first. You can polish the academics alongside. School life is the formative years of your life and is for polishing one’s networking and communication skills. Academics is very important but personality development is also essential for Civil Services.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]