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From LSR to Oxford: A journey that will inspire you-Ankita Singh Gujjar

Meet Ankita Singh Gujjar, she is a graduate from lady shri ram college for women with a graduate degree from political science. Her interests lie in research, India’s foreign policy, Human rights, and public policy. She has also worked with many think tanks including Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs, Foreign policy research centre and UNESCO. She has also worked as a research assistant at Oxford and Columbia university. She is also Linkedin’s top Public speaking voice and some what is able to manage it all. She has been part of several societies in LSR and also many UN internships. Ankita is someone we all can take inspiration from, she is the right example of dedication and hard work and pursuing what you love!

We got the chance to interact with Ankita and have a short interview of her to know her journey.

1. How would you describe your journey till now and what was your moment of highlight?

My journey this far has been an exciting and enriching expedition through the world of political science and research. It has been filled with both challenges and triumphs, but if I were to pinpoint one highlight, it would be the moment I got admission to LSR. It was an exciting and enriching experience to be surrounded by bright minds from all over India. It was only through the learnings and challenges at LSR that I was able to land prestigious opportunities such as working at Oxford University. This achievement was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to my academic pursuits. It was also a turning point that opened doors to a world of academic rigour and global exposure.

2. Political science honours is a subject that demands a lot of time; despite this, how were you able to manage studies and societies and internships at the same time?

Balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and internships was indeed demanding. To manage this effectively, I had to become a master of time management. One key strategy was creating a structured schedule that allocated time for studying, participating in societies, and completing internships. I also learned to make the most of my free time, whether it was during breaks or evenings, to stay on top of my commitments. It is about setting clear priorities and sticking to them.

3. You were part of many societies in LSR; can you briefly tell us about your experience in societies and LSR?

My involvement in various societies at Lady Shri Ram College was a pivotal part of my college experience. It allowed me to develop not just academically but also personally. Working as a Department Representative, I learned about the importance of leadership and communication skills. Similarly, when I worked as the President of India France Bilateral Council, I was able to interact with diverse people, while also developing the art of public speaking, teamwork, and commitment. LSR’s vibrant campus culture encouraged me to explore my interests beyond academics and fostered my overall personal growth. Moreover, I was encouraged by my seniors to network effectively through professional platforms like LinkedIn, where I was exposed to so many like-minded individuals as well as opportunities.

4. What inspired you to choose a field of research rather than pursuing UPSC, which is mostly preferred by students in political science honours?

The decision to pursue research over a career in the UPSC was driven by my passion for exploring complex national and international political issues deeply. While UPSC is undoubtedly prestigious, research offered a unique opportunity to contribute to academic discourse. I believed that through research, I could make a distinctive impact by generating knowledge and insights that could inform and shape society differently. My suggestion to juniors would be to chart out their unique career path. While having role models is fine, following them too blindly can be harmful. One needs to reflect on one’s interests and passion and then carefully decide what can be the best path.

5. You were able to secure internships with organizations like the United Nations. Could you share your experience and how you managed to attain positions in such prestigious institutions?

Interning at prestigious think tanks and organizations was a transformative experience. It allowed me to witness firsthand the global dynamics of politics and diplomacy. To secure internships at prestigious organizations like the UN, it is crucial to combine academic excellence with relevant coursework. Networking plays a vital role too; I actively sought out opportunities, tailored my applications to match the organization’s mission, and reached out to mentors and alumni for guidance. Persistence and a well-rounded skill set also go a long way in making you a competitive candidate.

6. You had the privilege of working with some of the world’s top universities like Columbia and Oxford. How did you feel when you got into these universities, and what advice would you offer to students aiming for a similar path?

Working at universities of the calibre of Columbia and Oxford was a surreal experience. It was a humbling moment that reinforced the value of hard work and determination. My advice to aspiring students is to focus on academic excellence from the beginning, build strong relationships with professors who can guide them, and actively seek out research opportunities early in their academic journey. Also, do not underestimate the power of persistence, resilience, and networking in achieving your goals.

7. What piece of advice would you like to give to college students who are still unsure about their path?

To college students who may be uncertain about their career path, I would say, embrace curiosity. It is normal not to have your entire life figured out at this stage. Use your college years as a time to explore different fields, take on internships in various areas, and engage in extracurricular activities that ignite your interests. These experiences will help you discover your true passion and pave the way for a fulfilling career.

8. If you were to write your own autobiography, what title would you give it, and what would be the three highlights of your life’s journey?

To be honest, I feel that I am still not at a stage to define the highlights of my life. There is a lot to learn and experience before I can think along this line. However, if I must talk about the biggest highlights for me till now, it would include:

  • The pivotal moment I received the Research Assistant opportunity from Oxford University.
  • My experience representing my college at global conferences like Harvard and UNDP, broadened my global perspective.
  • The journey of working with esteemed scholars and prestigious institutions in the realm of political science research, a path that allowed me to contribute to meaningful knowledge creation and societal impact.

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