‘Spent all nights to become a school topper’, Fahmin Sayyed

“Becoming the topper was my dream from the very beginning,” said Fahmin Sayyed, the top scorer of Andheri’s Bombay Cambridge International School, who scored 95.6% in the Class 10 SSC Board exam. She said she started her academic year by setting a goal for herself every day and achieving that goal, such as studying for at least two to three hours a day. “I did this keeping in mind my long-term goal,” she said, adding that good teachers who helped her solve all her doubts were her biggest foundation.

At times when she felt like her hard work wasn’t paying off, she pulled herself up and stuck to her most important mantra: consistency. It was a tough task for her to be the vice-captain of her school. But she was determined to balance both: performing well academically and upholding her responsibilities as vice-captain. What excited her most was the subject of Science – which also ties in with her future goal of becoming a scientist at NASA. “Even if I had low stamina on a given day, I still studied science with enthusiasm because my heart was in it,” she said.

Language subjects were not her strong suit, and she had difficulty finding interest in them. “I had to spend a lot of time on languages ​​after my prelims because I was quite bad at them,” she said. It was only when she set her mind to studying them properly that she was able to score above 90 in all her language subjects. She called her parents her biggest support systems, adding that they never made fun of her for scoring low in any subject. “They still praised me even when I hadn’t done my best, and told me they knew I would give my 100 percent on the boards,” she said, adding that she was nervous before the results were announced. She had asked her parents: ‘What if I score below 80 percent?’. Her parents responded, “That could happen, but what if it does? Nothing wrong with it”.

“I never had to ask her to study, she did it because she saw it as her duty,” says Fahmin’s mother, Tasneem Nishad Sayyed, adding that Fahmin has always wanted to be self-reliant and stand on her own two feet.

Fahmin lives in a 1 BHK apartment. “When I was a student, many guests would sometimes come to our apartment, which made it difficult for me to concentrate,” she says. You need a quiet environment at home to really concentrate, she said, adding that due to the discomfort caused by guests at her home, she started studying at night from 12 noon to 5 am. “After I got home from school, I slept from 1am to 5pm,” she explained, adding that she found it peaceful to study at night.

When asked what she did for her free time, Fahmin said she sketched a lot, recorded herself singing, playing bowls and watching cricket. “I also watched a TV show called Stranger Things and ate a lot of pani puri with my friends,” she said.

Fahmin participated in the National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC), a national science communication program that started in 1993. “That experience helped me understand concepts like critical thinking, self-confidence and articulating answers well,” she said. She represented her school at a national level through the programme, where she created a project on the theme of producing ink from carbon.

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