It is always beneficial to see the SSB through the eyes of the recommended candidates. Here is a conversation with Madhulika Ci, A lawyer by profession (BCA+LLB in her education), who has cleared her SSB interview for IAF, from 3 AFSB Gandhinagar for the Ground Duty Branch and is all geared up to get set and go to Air Force Academy in July 2014. Q. Hello Madhulika first of all heartiest congratulations from our side. Tell us how does it feel to be on the verge of joining Indian Airforce?A. Thank You. It feels great! The anticipation is nerve wrecking but I am very excited and hoping for the best!
Q. How was the SSB experience in total?
A. It was very swift. I met great people, made excellent friends but the 5 days were not enough. The 1 week spent just flies by and you are left with fond memories.
Q. As for the readers, 3 AFSB is a new board so please elaborate your experience of how was 3 AFSB?
A. The center is based in sector 9 of the capital city of Gujarat. On reaching the center one of the first noticeable things is its small size in comparison with other centers. Being fairly new and parts of it are still under construction. The capacity of the center to hold candidates is lesser due to obvious reasons but none the less what it lacks in size and capacity, it more than makes up for the excellent conditions of the rooms.
Q. What was your inspiration behind joining the IAF?
A. I wanted to be a part of the legacy that the IAF is. In a country of scientists, engineers and doctors, being a part of the IAF is an honor and a privilege. The uniform works too!
Q. First BCA, then LLB you sure have got a different kind of approach to your career, having an entirely different kind of courses. Was this question never raised to you in your SSB personal interview?
A. All the time! You wouldn’t believe the grilling I got in interviews! But I went with the honest answer. I did what was best and had best opportunities. I got a good job with BCA and could put myself through law school. Having both the degrees makes me have a good understanding of various untapped opportunities for in the future. I put the same across (in different words of course) and i am guessing they saw the truth in it.
Q. What was the attempt in which you cleared the SSB?
A. My fourth. Finally!
Q. So didn’t you give up hope in previous attempts? What made you succeed in this attempt?
A. I didn’t. And contrary to what the popular belief is, only positivity will not help you overcome hurdles. With each failed attempt i would go through the whole testing procedure in mind and wonder where i went wrong. It was frustrating. I felt very demoralized and questioned myself over and over again. I had nothing to help me understand what the problem was exactly. The books helped to a certain degree. But after the first time, the books had nothing new to offer me. I still went for SSB as i had a time constraint and dint want to lose out on attempts. Nothing worked. So here’s what i realized after all the failures. There is no specific set of rules. The SSB is a personality test. Being you is quite enough. I am not undermining the importance of GK and positive outlook but they alone would not work. I spoke to various people who had cleared and they all gave diff answers. So I went to a coaching center, got new books and started understanding my personality better. The optimism made me try again, but the preparatory steps i took are what put me through.
Q. Do you think coaching does really help the aspirants?
A. If a person is really interested in joining the forces, and then I would suggest it, yes. There are lots of people who clear it without coaching and people who don’t clear it even with coaching. But in the end it all boils down to how much do you really want it? When a failed attempt would hamper your chances the next time, do you want to take the risk?
Q. What was your success mantra?
A. Perseverance, Confidence, Identifying and utilizing resources, hard work (Lots of it!), optimism. Of course having an amazing group of girls in the group who were there in every step of the way helped 😉
Q. Does the group you get affect the chances of success in the SSB?
A. Absolutely. The group makes up for 1/3rd of your testing and determines whether you get through or not. Having a good group with positive dynamics helps you prepare for the testing better. They are comrades and affect your performance directly and indirectly. A good group can make all the difference because in the end, the services need a candidate who is accepted and supported by his/her peers.
Q. Which was your favorite part of the whole SSB procedure and why?
A. It is difficult to choose one but I find the testing procedure itself very exhilarating. You test yourself every step of the way. Intellect, Social skills and physical strength. Everything that you are is put to use. No amount of camouflage works. And the pressure helps you get stronger. Irrespective of the results, the SSB experience is one to cherish and all must try it at least once.
Q. Any tips for the repeaters and other fresher aspirants in general?
A. Freshers: The armed forces want a realist. Be realistic in your approach to yourself and your future. Believe in yourself ( I know it sounds cliché but its true!) and your abilities. Have a high aim and aspire to be better. Confidence and a level head will help you achieve.
Repeaters: Continue your hard work. You have it tougher than the freshers and it’s not easy to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over. I know. But your determination gives you an added focus and motivation. Understand and use all the resources at your disposal. Books, the internet, coaching centers, people with knowledge, they are all there to help you realize your dreams. Take all the help you need, harness all that new knowledge and put it to the best use. It’ll all be worth it. All the best!!
Q. Give one most essential thing according to you which is required to clear the SSB?
A. What you do, think and say should all be the same. Transparency of your true self
Thank you for speaking to SSBCrack Madhulika. All the best for your Merit List.
Madhulika: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure. Keep up the good work 🙂