In Conversation With Mehak Dhawan, Recommended From 33 SSB

We had a conversation with Mehak Dhawan who recently got recommended from 33 SSB Bhopal and would be joining Indian Naval Academy soon. We discussed about her preparation, her stay at ssb centre and views on various aspects. We hope this artice will help every aspirant who is preparing to join the Armed Forces.

DDE: Congratulations on your recommendation. How does it feel now?

Mehak: Thank you. I feel immensely excited, nervous, happy and worried all at once. I’m excited that I will finally be living the dream I’ve dreamt for so long. I’m nervous and worried about the rigorous training I am about to face but I guess I’ll get that strength automatically when I’m there so these feelings can be shunned for now. And ofcourse, I’m happy because this is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

DDE: What motivated you to join Indian Navy?

Mehak: Being a Naval NCC Cadet, I have interacted with many Naval officers during the camps I have attended. Everything about these officers, from their gait to their way of speaking to the uniform and the command has inspired me to choose this as a way of life. Moreover, the disciplined and active environment of the camps made me discover new horizons about myself and motivated me to become an officer.

DDE: How did you plan and implemented your preparations for SSB?

Mehak: I used to practice WATs from YouTube videos and after writing all the 60 WATs, I would go throught the sentences I had written to see if I could have made better sentences. The same approach I used for TAT and SRT, too. My preparation was basically based on self analysis and improvement. I only practiced a few times, given the placement drives, projects and exams in final year, but even this little practice I did, took me a long way during the test. I was able to complete all WATs, write stories which were self satisfactory and did a good 45-50 SRTs. I also filled the PIQ form beforehand at least 3-4 times and went through it again and again to edit and improve it.

DDE: What were your plans to tackle GTO tasks. Which task was most interesting according to you and why?

Mehak: I did no preparation for GTO. I wanted to go there and let my natural instincts do the work. During the tasks, I tried to grasp every instruction given and implement it. I didn’t try to portray myself as a hero, trying to help everyone and shouting frantically, I just had my most natural demeanour on. The most interesting task according to me was the GPE. I never thought I could remember so much information given in one go and actually propose a solution about it. The most fun task was obviously the Group Race, which had us all sweating and pumped up shouting our warcry and running with the huge snake over our heads.

DDE: Can you share some light moments which you had encountered during your stay at SSB centre?

Mehak: One of my roommates was from Andhra Pradesh, the rest of us being north indians. So we were fascinated all the time with the way she used to speak hindi, with such innocence. She also taught us a few words and counting numbers while we sang Punjabi songs to entertain her.

DDE: What was going through your mind on conference day. How did you feel after your conference?

Mehak: Honestly, it was my first SSB and I made a call to my mother the previous day to not expect any good news from my side because I didn’t think my performance was upto the mark. I made a few mistakes in my interview and wanted to do better. So I had unloaded all this baggage by making this call home and was not expecting anything on the Conferene day. I was relaxed and was enjoying talking to the new friends I had made. After the conference, I was feeling even more confident about not having made through because they had only asked me about the places I visited in Bhopal and the food ate at the SSC Centre. I was sure that I will not be recommended because they didn’t ask me “important” questions, a misconception in my head which I later got rid of.

DDE: What was your reaction when the officer called your chest number?

Mehak: Before the results were announced, we were asked to stand up and spell out our names if our chest number was announced and walk out of the room. I was not anticipating to hear my chest number so I was busy looking towards the girls I thought would get recommended and admiring them. Mine was the second chest number they called out and I froze. My neighbour nudged me to get up as it was my number they were calling out, Chest number 17! I stood up, took a moment to absorb this feeling and spelled my name with so many pauses that it felt like I had been asked to spell an italian word in a spelling bee. It was an overwhelming moment, walking out of that room after spelling out my name and it will forever be one of the most unexpected and happy moments of my life.

DDE: What is your daily routine now?

Mehak: Now that college is done with and I’ll be joining the academy in a few days, most of my days are spent meeting old friends and relatives and spending time with my family before I leave. Amidst all this, I try to exercise daily as I am really nervous about the training, and I try to read as many of my books as possible before I leave them behind at home.

DDE: Any message to Aspirants?

Mehak: My message to the aspirants would be to not go to face the SSB with preconceived notions about it. Read any information you get about the SSB but go there with a clean slate in your head. This is helpful because it will help you in bringing out your most natural self during the tests and tasks, which I believe is the most important aspect in the SSB. Also, don’t get disheartened if you make mistakes in a task during the SSB. Make a mistake and forget it, so that the task that went wrong on day 2 of the SSB does not become the reason for making another mistake on day 3. Enjoy each and every task during the SSB and don’t try to pull others down during group discussions and tasks. Instead, try to be a group player, support others’ ideas and help them. If needed, do not hesitate to ask for help, it does not make you smaller or weaker, it only shows that you are accepting in nature. Never give on your dreams, they do come true if you keep working towards them.

DDE: Thank you so much for this conversation. We wish you success in your future endeavours.

Mehak: Thanks a lot. Jai Hind!


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