Inspiration for Working Professionals to Crack the IAS Exam: R Vaithinathan

Many working professionals try their hand at the UPSC civil services every year. Even candidates who prepare full-time find clearing the IAS exam a herculean task. There are so many aspects to the IAS preparation like covering the humongous UPSC syllabus, taking mock tests, preparing notes, studying for current affairs section, etc. Doing all this while managing a job can really take a toll on candidates. Many give up halfway buckling under pressure. But there are many stories of working professionals who have cleared the IAS exam while in a full-time job. This article talks about the story of Dr. R Vaithinathan, a working doctor who cracked the civil services exam in his fifth attempt.

Vaithinathan secured a splendid all India rank of 37 in the civil services exam 2015. A doctor from Puducherry, he took inspiration from his sister who had cleared the civil services in 2009 becoming an IPS officer. But the path towards IAS glory was not an easy one for Vaithinathan. The first opposition he faced was from his parents who were strictly against their medico son pursuing the civil services. It was during his medical internship that he got exposed to the administrative snags in the system, not to mention the unavailability of good medical services to the poor people in our country. Then, he told his parents about his new-found civil services dream.

A gold medallist in MBBS from the Vinayaga Mission Medical College (2010), Vaithinathan’s parents weren’t convinced why their son wanted to give up a bright future in medicine for the civil services. To pacify them, Vaithinathan promised them that he would continue working as a doctor while preparing for the IAS exam. In this, his sister supported him, although it wasn’t easy.

He took up a job as a junior resident in a Chennai hospital where he started his IAS preparation as well. His ward duties were for 2-3 hours where he would attend patients. He also had to attend emergencies there. The remaining time, he utilised for studies. Later this gritty aspirant moved to Delhi where he worked 24-36 hours at a stretch and then got a two-day break for studies. One can imagine how difficult and physically tiring it must have been for a person to juggle between work and preparation in this manner.

In the first two attempts, Vaithinathan couldn’t clear past even the prelims. In the next two attempts, he reached the interview stage because of a better knowledge of the exam requirements. And, on the fourth attempt, he found success at last with an amazing rank of 37. He says that before the fourth attempt, he had almost quit but for his sister’s motivating words. She had said, “Don’t let a moment of defeat define your life’s outcome.”

Ignited by his sister’s words, he renewed his efforts and focused on his optional subject of sociology. His perseverance paid off!

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