Interview: NLU Delhi’s Aashika Jain: UPSC Civil Services Rank 74: In this profession, there’s a connect with the public

Interview conducted by Aishwariya Sunder.

Please tell me about your family background and your educational background, schooling, college etc.

I belong to a joint family from Ambala, Haryana. My father is a Punjab & Haryana High Court lawyer, and my mother is a homemaker.

I graduated from National Law University, Delhi in 2014. In class 12, I chose to pursue the commerce stream in Convent of Jesus and Mary School, Ambala, where I had also done by 10th standard.

I chose to pursue my graduation in law because I wanted to be aware of the world around me. I wanted to know the right from the wrong.

In furtherance of the same, I wanted to know the law of the land. I was also fascinated with my father’s practice and looked forward to litigation. I was looking at UPSC somewhere down the line, and law seemed like a good basis for it.

What prompted you to prepare for the civil services, and when did you decide that you will opt for it?

UPSC was always on my mind. After graduating, I got placed with Trilegal. However, I was always sure about UPSC.

In this profession, there is a connect with the public. The primary reason behind choosing UPSC was that I thought of it as a development enabler.

As a civil servant, I always perceived that I could be a part of the development process while achieving personal growth. It’s the perfect mix of social service and a professional job enrichment with scope for career growth.

How was your college life at NLU Delhi? Your academics, extra circulars, internships etc.? Was UPSC in your mind as you planned all of this?

I wanted to explore everything in Law school, every facet of it. When I was in law school, I participated in two national moots and one international moot.

I interned with Amarchand & Mangaldass too. But I did not limit myself to activities that were purely academic. I was also into dancing, aerobics and swimming.

I was very interested in essay writing competitions, but I had no publications.

Within college, I was a part of the committee for social inclusion. I founded it with the faculty and students of NLU, Delhi.

What were your subjects for UPSC and how did you prepare for them? And when did you start preparing seriously for it? Did you go for courses or did you choose to study by yourself?

I had law as my optional subject along with the compulsory General Studies papers.

I picked up one law subject at a time, say constitutional law or Indian Penal Code, etc. and made detailed notes for each subject from a variety of sources such as text books, reference books, internet etc.

I also kept an eye for any contemporary developments, and ensured that they found place in my notes.

I didn’t take coaching for law since it was my graduation subject.

How difficult was it to not get tempted by corporate jobs and placements in top tier firms, and rather choose this option of appearing for the civil services?

As a matter of fact, I did sit for placements in my fourth year and got placed with one of the top tier law firms of the country. But the preparation of this exam was always more tempting to me, for some reason.

It could be a matter of personal choice, but public issues have always interested me more than dealing with corporate clientele.

I had interned with corporate law firms before and I knew I didn’t see my future with them. But one doesn’t necessarily have to opt for this course.

It makes perfect sense to explore all options before settling down with one. Which could mean joining a corporate law firm if one is pulled towards it. One is free to opt out whenever they like.

How did being a student of Law help you in your preparation for Civil Services Examination?

Apart from the fact that I could opt for my own subject which constitutes a good 25% of the syllabus, it also helped a great deal in GS.

Polity and governance also being a significant component of the exam, law came handy.

Also, law is so integrally related with other disciplines such as history and economics that law students tend to develop some insight into most of these areas.

Also, I think we tend to develop a style of formal writing and articulation which also affords us an edge in any sphere for that matter.

Do you have any advice for UPSC aspirants?

My only advice would be to enjoy the course of this preparation. It is a great learning experience and it adds value to you every single day.

The result will come your way if it has to but let it not be the focal point of your endeavour.

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