My journey to cracking JAM AIR 1 -Ravi Kumar Maurya

Editor’s Note: Ravi Kumar Maurya, is a name most third-year B.S and First-year M.Sc (2021 batch) are quite familiar with. Not only he asks the most intriguing question to the professor, but he also helps every batchmate who seeks his help. In this interview, we sought to know our all India topper batchmate on a personal level.

1. Ravi, tell us about your upbringing, schooling, childhood. When did you realize chemistry was your thing?

Hello Harsh, thanks for inviting me to do this interview. I hail from Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh (Adjacent to spiritual Kashi). I did my schooling from state board school back in my hometown following which I went for my graduation to Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Initially i used to feel it would be very difficult for a student like me to take admission at a central university like BHU without any coaching, without any guidance belonging to a rural background. All I had in mind was BHU. IIT JEE was the buzzword that I used to hear but didn’t know how to make it. I collected previous question papers and worked hard with my UP board books and with some NCERT books. Somehow with the grace of God, I was able to secure admission in BHU. This proved to be a big changer in my life, it bolstered my confidence, made me much stronger mentally, and gave me many new ambitions too. Without any second thoughts, I decided to accept my admission to BHU. 

2. What got you into Chemistry in the first place? 

Initially I was very strong in physics and rather aloof with chemistry. You could say it being my carelessness or lack of knowledge about the procedure of counseling. Even though I wanted to study physics but I made a mistake of giving 1st preference to chemistry (Hons.) and this is how my story began with chemistry. Initially, I wanted to change my Hons however this thought vanished away because back in  2017 when I attended a Nobel laureate lecture at BHU which completely changed my vision about chemistry. At that very moment, I decided to go with chemistry itself knowing there are a lot of things in chemistry where I can do something innovative and contribute to the science to make the world a much better place. 

Ravi (middle in sitting position) with his friends during Graduation ceremony at BHU

3. What intrigues you most about Chemistry as a subject? 

Every day millions of people are suffering due to various diseases like cancer, HIV etc. And whenever I read that no proper medicine is available as well as trouble in diagnosis for  these diseases . Only one question came to my mind: why! if we could  reach mars then what has made it difficult to diagnose it at that very moment. I must accept that I don’t know the details of various diseases, however in the bigger picture this fact does bother me a lot deep inside. As I mentioned about the Nobel laureate lecture, Joachim frank who talked about diseases and chemistry relating to them.I came to know about various possibilities of chemistry in biology and how we could aid such studies. Talk about present scenarios when we are not familiar with COVID-19.In future, we must be prepared for another attack and to save the world from these devils, scientific community need to step in even bigger and without question chemistry will be playing a crucial role here.This strong influence of chemistry in biology is what intrigues me in the 1st place.

4.This question is what most JAM aspirants might be curious about so could you tell us more about your preparation strategy and daily routine during your JAM Preparation? How did you keep yourself motivated throughout? 

I started my JAM preparation after the 4th semester and it basically tests your concepts in chemistry so my main strategy was to make every concept crystal clear. For this I always followed standard books. The main difficulty was to strike a balance between lectures and preparation but if you go through the syllabus of JAM you will realise that your semester courses already cover the JAM syllabus, However JAM is completely different from semester exam so you do have to read up extra for it , I made slow progress with strategizing well before. Due to classes during the day, I could study with complete focus only during the nights. I set my routine in such a way that nights were meant for grasping the concept and the day to solve questions on the same..this thing worked wonders for me. I was able to complete my JAM syllabus before one month of the exam. Before two month I started taking test series and in the last one month I focused on practicing questions as much as I could and revision of concepts.

During preparation many times I felt things were very difficult and was crestfallen but then i recalled my dream of getting into an old IIT and got back at it again 

5.How has your life been at IIT Bombay so far? What differences have you observed about insti than BHU?

IIT Bombay is a great place and in less than one year I can feel why IITB is a dream for every student no matter what stream you like. it provide you best euphoria for whatever you may want to pursue ahead

The international exposure of the institute gives you an understanding about what is going on in the world of science and technology. IITB makes sure the student evolves in all spheres .I like that various clubs here provide opportunities to learn different stuff 

Every institute has their unique place but what I felt about IITB different from BHU is that our faculty here is much more vibrant. it provides larger exposure in terms of research

IITB also has strong relationships with foreign universities and you can bag an internship there and get to know their research culture as well during summers

6. What other activities/hobbies do you like pursuing?

Apart from study, Here we have many things to explore and more freedom to work where you are interested

I personally want to learn different languages but due to lack of time during semester it’s not possible for me to give much time but now during lockdown i will likely pursue that .Also sports has always  of my favorite part of insti life, whenever I feel like I always hop over to the gymkhana ground

Ravi (in lab coat) with his friends 

7. We know it’s too early to ask but what are your future plans after M.Sc.?

From next semester I will start working on my master’s project and learn as much as I can about research.I want to do a Ph.D from a good research group in a good university and my master’s project plays a very important role for that so my main focus will be on my master’s project.

8. What have been your biggest takeaways so far in your journey with the chemistry department at IIT Bombay ?

The Chemistry department of IITB gave shape to my journey. It introduced me to the fancy research world, how I could be a good researcher, what are different fields, where research is oriented these days. Professors are always standing behind you whenever you feel difficulties and provide the best of their knowledge. For research you need deep understanding and fundamental concepts of chemistry and this is completely fulfilled at this great institute. Since you have to take a lot of quizzes so you have to be always on your toes . It’s been a fun filled experience so far 

Looking forward to more takeaways along this journey 

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