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NEET UG Odisha Topper: ‘Covid-19 pandemic inspired me to pursue medicine’

NEET UG Result 2022: If not a doctor, Nayak would have wanted to become a journalist and like most teenagers he also likes to stay updated with the current affairs of the world by reading newspapers.

NEET UG Result 2022, NEET UG Result, NEET UG 2022, NEET 2022, NEET resultNEET UG Result 2022: Unlike the all India topper, Nayak did not appear for the JEE exam, but he admits that he did contemplate sitting for it. (Graphics by Abhishek Mitra)

NEET UG Result 2022: Had it not been Covid-19 pandemic, 18-year-old Priya Somadutta Nayak would have probably chosen journalism as a profession. The Odisha boy is the state (NEET-UG) 2022 topper with a percentile score of 99.9976198 and 715 marks. “In class 7, I decided to become either a journalist or a doctor. Both are noble professions. During Covid, I realised the world needs doctors and appreciated their exemplary contribution during the pandemic. I, therefore, started focusing on NEET preparation,” he said.

Like many others, he also started full-fledged preparations during the Covid years. The all India rank (AIR) 39 candidate says he spent six to eight hours studying on a daily basis but increased it to 12 hours a few days before the exam.

Nayak further said that he started preparing for NEET UG in 2020 (when he was in class 11), however, he believes that the Covid years came as a blessing for his academic life as he got more time to study instead of travelling.

“It was a tough time as on some days, I felt demotivated, especially when I received low marks. However, my family, friends and teachers at SAI International School cheered me. I was also saving a lot of travelling time, so that also helped me stay more focused,” he said, adding that the Covid period also made him realise the importance of doctors in such tough times.

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The state topper says he was on cloud nine when he checked the result PDF issued by NTA in the late hours of Wednesday. “When the result was declared, it was midnight and my parents had already slept. So, when I finally got hold of the PDF result and saw my name in the list of toppers, I was surprised,” he told indianexpress.com. Unable to hold his emotions, Priya rushed to his parents’ room and woke them up. “Ever since the news is out, none of us slept. Relatives and friends have been calling since then. We are in celebration mood.”

To brush up on his current affairs, he reads newspapers daily. “I read the indianexpress.com and I enjoy reading the politics-related editorials. I like their deep analysis of various things — be it politics or any other national importance news. I also read the Explained section. In that, every new and particular thing that happens in the country is explained in a very detailed way,” he said.

Unlike the all India topper, Nayak did not appear for the JEE Main, but he admits that he did contemplate sitting for it. “I did think that maybe I should appear for the JEE exam, but then I decided that it is better to focus only on NEET and conquer this,” he said, adding that he scored 96.8 per cent in his class 12 exams.


The Odisha topper believes that if a student thoroughly prepares and revises from NCERT-issued books, the medical entrance exam can be cracked. As a piece of advice to future NEET aspirants, the Odisha topper says that candidates should not divert their energy towards different books. “The question paper is completely based on NCERT books. Also, candidates should remember that there is no substitute for hard work,” he added.

Nayak is hoping to pursue his medical degree from AIIMS Delhi or AIIMS Bhubaneswar. He would like to specialise either in Medicine or Nephrology.

First published on: 09-09-2022 at 02:09:45 pm
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