I Have Nerves Of Steel: Anushka Panda CBSE Class 10 Topper

Anushka Panda, Class 10 CBSE Topper, believes that studying from day one is the mantra to succeed in board examinations.

By Leena Ghosh

I Have Nerves Of Steel: Anushka Panda CBSE Class 10 Topper

When you have the will to succeed and the nerves of steel to overcome any obstacle life throws at you, then nothing can stop you. And, that is exactly what Anushka Panda, class 10 CBSE Topper in the differently-abled section, believes in. With a score of 97.8 per cent, this student of Suncity School Gurugram, defied all odds to top one of the most important examinations of her life. An avid fan of sports and animation, and a trained singer, Anushka’s faith in herself never wavers. Just like her smile, that never fades.

In an exclusive interview to ParentCircle, Anushka Panda reveals how she wants to help the world with the help of technology and why she hates being a damsel in distress. Excerpts from the interview:

The journey so far…

All this attention is new to me. I have never been in the limelight before. When I saw the results, I couldn’t believe it. I screamed my lungs out with joy. I thanked God and then informed my family. Then, when I discovered that I was the topper, my joy knew no bounds. I am thankful for whatever followed. Yes, it’s a bit hectic but it’s a new experience for me and it’s nice.

How I prepared for the boards

My study schedule was normal. I studied from day one, for two to three hours every day. I studied more during my holidays and weekends. During school, I had homework and other activities to follow up on, so I couldn’t study more. I utilised the holidays given to us during January and February to study and revise.

The challenges I faced

As far as the ergonomical challenges or infrastructural challenges are concerned, I have faced them during all my examinations. The brace I wear, the pain I suffer from – it’s something I have had to deal with since childhood. But this time, the new challenges that came up for me, and I am sure for every child who faced this examination, was the volume of the syllabus. We were used to the CCE scheme. But, this time we had to study the whole syllabus, which was quite a lot.

How I overcame my challenges

I practised sample papers. I had applied under the disabled category wherein we are given a specified time to solve the paper. But I wanted to pass the exams as a normal person. So, I practised sample papers frequently, till I was able to solve it in two-and-a-half hours.

The support I got from my school

My school is one of the most flexible schools for differently-abled children. They have placed a ramp everywhere. This makes it easier for differently-abled children, like us, to approach the teachers whenever we want. They wished me luck and carried my special desk to my examination centre. I am thankful to them.

Lessons I learnt from my mother

The first lesson I have learnt from my mother is to never give up - ever. The second lesson I learnt is to have nerves of steel; be strong and face all kinds of hurdles that I come across. And the third and the most important lesson I learnt is to follow my heart. She is the one who inspired me to do whatever I wanted to, and she helped me discover my passion.

Lessons I learnt from my father

My father taught me how to manage time. He is the one who inspired me to study from day one. He said consistency is the key and he encouraged me to focus and concentrate right from the beginning. The third very important thing he told me was achieving certain marks in the board exams was not the goal. To learn something new every day was the goal.

My tips for the next batch appearing for the board exams

Know that it’s a step-by step process. When you study every day, the syllabus will not seem too much. You can’t wait till January and February to finish your entire syllabus. You need to study from day one. Also, never be afraid of any examination. The purpose of an examination is to test your skills. Try to accept it.

Preparation tips for differently-abled students

Never stop following your heart. Be like Hellen Keller who had nerves of steel. She never gave up. Despite being blind and deaf, she learned how to speak. If she can do it, then so can we.

Never give up. Following our heart isn’t always easy for differently-abled people. Because not everything is tailored to suit our special needs. We have to overcome more obstacles than others. But it’s important not to give up before you reach your goal. Otherwise, all the efforts you have put in until then will go in vain. If you achieve something, you’d do it not only for yourself but also for the entire community. It will inspire the whole community to aim high and achieve something great.

My future plans

I want to become a software engineer. I love computer science. I love animations. I want to use technology to do something for the world and for differently-abled people like me.

What I want the world to know me as

I am a bit of a tomboy. I have a will power of my own and nerves of steel. I hate relying on other people. I hate being the damsel in distress. I want to be the knight who rescues others rather than be rescued myself.  

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