An NIT Raipur & IIT Bombay alumnus and an ex-IES officer, Sagar Dodeja through his productivity YouTube channel, ‘Civil Beings’, reaches out to millions of students who are in various phases of their competitive life.
At such a young age, Sagar exudes the authority of a seasoned professional. Given the popularity of his YouTube Channel, ‘Civil Beings’, it is clear that he knows how to deliver a message, and connect with a large audience. He regularly delivers talks at international forums such as TEDx and Josh Talks. Sagar Dodeja has also launched one of its kind AI-based Study and Revision app, Study2Win. With success stories abound, it won’t be an overstatement to call Sagar an educationist of tomorrow.
Sagar encourages efficient time management and discipline, and inculcates invaluable life-lessons through his lectures on YouTube and stage, and leads by example.
Here, we put Mr Sagar Dodeja on record through an exclusive conversation:
Q 1: Achieving success in Engineering Services is like reaching the pinnacle for an engineer. But you still went further and achieved much more in such a short period. What keeps you going and how do you answer ‘whys’ that life keeps on throwing at you?
Achieving a top rank in UPSC ESE was one of the proudest moments of my life. However, I am an explorer & try to learn new things. For me, it’s not about “WHY”, but it’s about “WHY NOT!” As I learnt in IIT Bombay while working as a Teaching Assistant, I got a flavour of teaching & understood that how much I get engaged when I start telling about technical stuff. I could do it for hours & hours. Thus, I decided to continue with the teaching profession & do something good for the student community. Now, I teach separately for an institute for UPSC CSE, ESE & GATE.
Apart from that, Civil Beings is now, an organization, which successfully delivered more than 10,00,000 books to the needy students in remote areas & villages. This was done in association with other agencies such as Qriyo, Manthan, Ola, Rajasthan Government to name a few. We also teach English free of cost on YouTube in my other channel which is “SAGAR DODEJA”. In our app, which is Study2Win, we provide most affordable courses of general nature & promote Vedic Maths through our app. So, still, there’s a lot to do, for good!
Q 2: What do you think of social media and particularly YouTube? How do you encourage meaningful engagement on Civil Beings when there is so much distraction on YouTube?
I think that social media is surely designed to be addictive & engaging and just like any other product, the companies who develop these platforms want more & more people to use them. It is up to us to learn to adapt & manage ourselves.
Everyone is distracted in some or the other way. Distraction, as I see them, cannot be removed, however, they can be managed that how and when we get distracted. If this is controlled by us, we can easily get time for our essential life goals. I believe – “Randomness Kills Productive Time”. YouTube is an ocean of content & creators are trying hard to engage their audience. They are finding/creating more & more content to drive audience on their side. I too try to deliver good content and build up some humour, anecdote, short stories etc to engage students.
Q 3: Do you think Digital Learning Platforms can come to the aid of our largely conventional education system?
I will talk about basic human behaviour & not about the monetary pros and cons. Digital learning platforms can never become a clear substitute for offline learning. We, humans, require all senses at work to learn/grasp something in a better way. Moreover, every work has a suitable place, we have seen people reducing their efficiency, destroying their work-personal life balances while working at home. The only job of students is to study and definitely there is no substitute of a proper class environment.
But one more thing I would like to add, digitization of offline learning can surely benefit students, like incorporating smart boards in classrooms, showing animated videos of various concepts. But in my opinion, complete dependency on online cannot make our future generation any smarter & cannot make India we are dreaming of.
Q 4: Tell us about the idea behind your app, Study2Win? How does it help students?
Study2Win is an AI-Based app. This was started as a complete study management system but later on, we decided to integrate courses into the app. This app is free to download & use for a while without any subscription.
There was major trouble among students that they were not able to track their subsequent revisions and when things piled up, they gave up just before the examination. To solve this, we used the research of Sir Ebbinghaus and his theory of Forgetting Curve. We also modified the programming as per the current needs and depending upon the examinations the students are preparing for.
Students can add their examination, subjects, and the app itself adjusts the schedule of revisions and studies & makes sure that syllabus along with revisions is completed before their exam. They just need to stick to the schedule. If they do the revisions as per planned by the app, they will remember the studied things for the maximum time. This is properly backed by research and human anatomy. Now, as mentioned previously, we have also incorporated VEDIC MATHS MASTERY course to promote our culture, we also have the course on Neuroplasticity which is taught by me, Career skills, Interview skills etc. We are working on continuous improvement of the app.
Q 5: Covid-19 has brought monumental changes to our lives. What kind of changes do you see in the future, particularly for students?
I believe that this phase is temporary & everything will be back to normal & the life will go on, as it used to!
Q 6: Your catchphrase, ‘Jaan Laga Do, Ya Jaane Do’ has become the mantra for students all over India. Would you prescribe a new mantra for students in these times of uncertainty?
I have lived by the rule that whatever you do, try your hardest. If at the first place, you are not planning to put everything you got into your work/aim, then don’t do it at all. At least you will save yourself some frustration when you won’t be getting results out of it. When you are ready, give your best shot.
In these times, I strongly believe that “JAAN LAGA DO” is the best possible strategy because of economic crisis, lack of employment etc. Companies & Organizations are preferring those who work hard with sincerity. As far as students are concerned, to make sure you get into that top college or top position in some competitive examination, JAAN LAGANA is the only way forward.
Q 7: You wear many hats when it comes to the roles that you play? From being a teacher to productivity trainer to an entrepreneur, what is it that remains to be achieved for Sagar Dodeja?
I’ve never had a bucket list of achievements, rather I have my experience list to undergo in my lifetime. I want my learnings to be understood by all the learners of India as I have read & studied a lot and still doing so. I put a megaton of thought before making any video.
One thing, out of context, which I wish to experience is travel to all the states of India & try to understand the underlying issues
Q 8: Lastly, how do you keep monotony or repetition out of your life in these times of lockdown?
Honestly, my workload has increased in lockdown as due to regularly scheduled classes, I was not able to focus on some non-urgent but important initiatives. I took this lockdown as an opportunity and engaged myself in all such ambitious initiatives which I had in my mind for a long time.
You can check out Sagar’s famous YouTube Channel, Civil Beings here.