Aparajita Kaul is a first year student at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Her first-hand account of life at law school will gear you up for the whirlwind you will embark on, if you make it through. Read on to get that boost you’ve wanted for a long time now.
As my first semester in law school inches towards an end, I can’t help but wonder how a lifetime worth of moments happened in just 4 short months. When I joined NALSAR, there were a million questions that I frantically searched the answers for (some of them are still unanswered). I talked to seniors, surfed the deepest corners of the Internet to ‘prepare’ myself for college and read articles that were titled ‘How to ace Law School 101’. What people say is ‘The pressure of going to one of the top law colleges doesn’t end after you get your CLAT rank. The uphill battle has just started.’But, experiencing college first hand has given me a whole new perspective that goes beyond this belief.
The first year of law school is about panicking over project submissions (five of them!), and a bund of too-meta-for-us exams. It’s about learning how to cite (still not getting the hang of it), knowing the loopholes in Turnitin (how I miss the good old Wikipedia days) and trying our hardest to wake up in the morning to meet the 75% attendance mark.
But the beauty of NALSAR is that life here is so much more than this. I found things I’m passionate about that go beyond academics because in college, there is something for each person to try and develop an interest in. In four months, I’ve tried everything from quizzing and photography to Alternative Dispute Resolution and the law-school activity- Mooting. Everyone has a chance to create a niche in something other than the legal field, be it our own college band or working for social causes.
One thing that is amazing about law school is the liberal culture that is propagated by the student community. Everyone is accepted no matter what our views, backgrounds, statuses or sexuality are (except Donald Trump). I have friends from all over India who have exposed to me their own cultures. We have fests that celebrate almost every region from South India to Rajasthan to ‘Awadh Magadh’. I sit in class with people who have had a vastly different upbringing and who often have different ideologies than I do. But the best part about law school is, all of us are on an equal footing.
College has taught me independence, both emotionally and practically. Adjusting to a life of cleaning my own room, rushing to the bathroom to not stand in a long queue or sleeping on creaky beds are essential life-skills that one learns within the first week itself. But adjusting to a life with completely new people, phases of homesickness and the general stress has taught me how to become a more balanced person.
Let us address a concern that every new entrant has- Ragging. First of all, it’s called ‘positive interaction’ and you know what? It is. Even though you might feel scared, every interaction you have helps break the ice with people who will always be willing to help you in your journey through law school. It is an experience that teaches you to shed your ego and bring yourself back to earth after the high that your CLAT rank gave you.
Even though our college is far from civilization (30 minutes to be exact), we have our dhaba trips, treks to the lake, talks by eminent people in their respective fields, student-run initiatives and so on which ensure there is never a dull moment here.
4 months have passed by in a blur of deadlines, classes, activities that go on till late in the night and weekends that are spent recovering from the sleep deprivation and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The final and most important thing that happened to me in 1st semester is that it reinforced my love for law. The more I study it, the more I realize that law has always been my calling. For me, the anxiety of being away from home seems like a distant thought now. It is going to be a whirlwind journey and I look forward to all that NALSAR has in store for me as well as calling it my home for the next 5 years and beyond.