IAS 2nd rank Garima Lohia’s Interview

Hailing from a business-oriented family, Garima’s journey to success has been nothing short of inspiring. However, her path was not without challenges. Tragically, she lost her father, a wholesale garments dealer in Buxar district, to a heart attack in 2015

IAS 2nd rank Garima Lohia’s Interview

Inspiring Success in UPSC with AIR 2 Garima Lohia (Photo:SNS)

In a remarkable achievement, Garima Lohia, a resident of Buxar, Bihar, has brought honor to her state by securing the second rank in the highly competitive Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) test 2022. The results, which were announced on May 23rd, revealed her outstanding performance, with a total of 1063 marks in the prestigious UPSC civil services examination.

Hailing from a business-oriented family, Garima’s journey to success has been nothing short of inspiring. However, her path was not without challenges. Tragically, she lost her father, a wholesale garments dealer in Buxar district, to a heart attack in 2015. Despite this setback, Garima’s determination and academic brilliance propelled her forward.

Having been born and raised in Bihar’s Buxar district, Garima displayed exceptional academic prowess from a young age. She completed her matriculation at the esteemed Woodstock School in Buxar and pursued her higher secondary education at Sunbeam School in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. With a thirst for knowledge and a drive to excel, she went on to enroll in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, North campus, where she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce.


Here are a few excerpts from our interview where Garima shares some insights about her journey to success and her aspirations for the future.

Q: At what point in your life did you decide to pursue the CSE, UPSC?
Garima: It was during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 when I made the decision to prepare for civil services. Witnessing the dire state of the health and education sectors in Bihar and various parts of India, I felt a strong urge to contribute to the improvement and upliftment of people and infrastructure. I have always had a desire to make a difference in the lives of those residing in small towns and villages. Seeing the circumstances and challenges, it served as a great source of motivation for me to kickstart my civil services preparation.

Q: When did you make your first attempt at the UPSC exam?
Garima: I took my first shot at the UPSC exam in 2021, but unfortunately, I did not manage to clear the preliminary test.

Q: How did you cope with your failure in your first attempt at the UPSC exam?
Garima: It was not just a setback in the UPSC exam; it marked the first failure in my life. As someone who had been a consistent topper throughout my academic journey, it was a tough pill to swallow when I could not even clear the UPSC prelims. The pressure was not only from my own expectations but also from my family, relatives, and society who anticipated another success story from the girl who had always excelled.
However, life doesn’t always work according to expectations. What truly matters is acknowledging your mistakes, weaknesses, and faults while developing a better strategy to bounce back from failure. It was a period of introspection for me, where I evaluated my shortcomings and devised a plan to overcome this setback.

Q: UPSC is known for its low success ratio, making it a risky endeavor. What motivated you to pursue it despite the odds?
Garima: The UPSC examination offers a diverse platform where one can contribute to areas such as education, health, and women’s upliftment. It keeps you grounded, encourages you to listen to others, extend a helping hand, and work towards their betterment. It provides an opportunity to utilize all your skills and resources. Throughout my preparations, my mother played a vital role in keeping me motivated. She would stay awake with me during late nights, providing constant support and encouragement.

Q: Did you anticipate securing the All India Rank 2?
Garima: I dedicated myself to diligent preparation and managed to clear the exam in my second attempt. While I had hopes of passing the exam, securing the second rank was beyond my imagination.

Q: How did you go about preparing for the civil services examination, and how many hours did you dedicate to your studies?
Garima: Preparation methods vary from person to person. Personally, I devoted approximately seven hours each day to my studies. I made use of a combination of books and online resources to conduct thorough research and enhance my understanding of the subjects.

Q: What was your optional subject in the UPSC CSE?
Garima: I chose Commerce and Accountancy as my optional subject.

Q: What were your percentages in your 10th and 12th standard, and from which schools did you complete these classes?
Garima: I completed my 10th standard at the Woodstock School in Buxar, where I achieved a perfect 10 CGPA. For my intermediate studies, I attended Sunbeam School in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and secured an impressive 98.2 percentage.

Q: What are your hobbies, and how do you manage stress?
Garima: Besides my studies, I have a keen interest in listening to self-help podcasts and reading self-help books. I enjoy teaching and interacting with young children from my neighborhood during my free time. Engaging in these activities helps me effectively manage stress and find balance in my life.