Suren, a 17-year-old Hisar resident, made his family proud by winning a gold medal in the International Olympiad for Astronomy and Astrophysics, which featured teams from 52 countries.
Suren attended a CBSE school in his hometown for his early education. Both of his parents work for the government and have a strong interest in science. "My father has a biology background, and my mother has a mathematics background. "As a result, both supported and encouraged me in my pursuit of an Olympiad," he says.
Experiment with Olympiads
Suren's mother first exposed him to Olympiads while he was in eighth grade. "I couldn't clear any round because I didn't have any prior expertise or instruction." The type of questions on the exam, on the other hand, sparked my interest. As a result, I enrolled in a four-year weekend classroom programme at a Delhi-based coaching institute in class IX. "Every weekend, I would drive to Delhi with my father to attend lessons," he recalls.
Suren’s mother introduced him to Olympiads in class VIII. “With no prior experience or training, I was unable to clear any round. However, the type of questions in the exam piqued my interest. Thus, in class IX, I joined a four-year weekend classroom programme at a Delhi-based coaching institute. Every weekend, I would travel with my father to Delhi to attend the classes,” he says.
Passionate about Maths, Suren qualified for the national Olympiad in Maths in class IX. However, he was not able to crack the test. “Even in class X, I could not crack the second level of the regional Olympiad. In class XI, with focus towards preparing for JEE along with the Olympiads, I shifted to Delhi and started living with my grandparents,” he says.
In class XI, Suren participated in the Maths Olympiad and senior Science Olympiad, which represents three independent tests in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy. He cleared the national level Olympiad for both Maths and Astronomy. “We could only attend the national camp for one Olympiad, so I chose Maths. Unfortunately, due to Covid, India did not participate in the international Olympiad, so I had to wait,” he says.
It was his fourth attempt at the Olympiads in class XII that finally bore fruit. “I cleared the national rounds in Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics. “Due to Covid, Olympiad national camps were held online, so participants could attend more than one camp. With the difference in the Olympiad and JEE Maths course, I chose to participate in the national camp for Physics and Astronomy,” he says.
While Suren was a part of the national team participating in the International Astronomy Olympiad, a low rank in the national Physics Olympiad disabled him from being a part of the international test in this subject.
The international Olympiads were held in Mumbai. “The Olympiad team for each subject comprised of five students. All of us had to participate in four individual rounds and one team round across one week,” he says.
Names of all medal winners were announced during the closing ceremony on the last day. Hearing his name as the gold medal winner for the International Olympiad for Astronomy and Astrophysics filled Suren with pride.
Advice, way forward
Studying for long hours might not bear as much fruit as complete concentration would. “I used to study for 6-7 hours daily, but my attention at this time was riveted by my studies and course books,” he says.
The JEE-Advanced rank-19 holder has taken admission in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi in BTech (Computer Science and Engineering). “I may take up a career in Maths or Computer Science in the future. As of now, I am enjoying the face that I was able to fulfil a childhood dream of making a name in the Olympiads