Anupriya Dhonchak is a first year student of National Law University-Delhi (NLU-Delhi).
I will try to make this as concise as possible but forgive me for digressions as writing about this sort of encompasses detailing all that I have experienced these past two years. I had chosen Humanities because I wanted to pursue law. Class 11 had me immersed in extra curricular activities – from debating, MUNing, organising events in school to playing badminton nationals (yes, badminton coaching was the only “coaching” I had till class 11), I did it all, blissfully ignorant of the competition I’d have to face while writing the CLAT and AILET. It was always at the back of my mind but I didn’t really do a lot of productive work towards it.
Class 12 began and I was still going for debates, quizzes and badminton tournaments. As late as August, I was working for organising our school’s MUN. Being part of a four member Secretariat (two of whose members made it to NALSAR, one to NLSIU and yours truly to NLU Delhi) was extremely helpful as even when we couldn’t devote as much time as we’d have liked to for our CLAT prep, we were all at least grudging about it together. I started reducing my social media usage post August and by December, I was completely off all social media and kept my cellphone switched off. I was scoring decently in the mocks and found myself improving as I prepared more. I tried to reconcile how badly I wanted to pursue law with how much time I had whiled away and procrastinated about it and ended up feeling like an absolute idiot and often articulating the same to my friends. I had started preparing moderately but knew it wasn’t sufficient by any standards.
I vividly remember the day the application form of CLAT came out. I was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t sleep the whole night. My sense of time has always been vague and I procrastinate dangerously. The release of the form put things in perspective, and the exam that I knew was much more important to me than my boards finally looked more real, almost tangibly hovering over me like an actuality that I knew I was grossly unprepared to combat. As the denial dissipated, it sunk in that I’d probably wasted more time than I would be able to compensate for. I panicked and strategised, talked to a senior at NALSAR, worked single minded with the fullest conviction and there was no looking back after that.
There were the inevitably low moments but largely I grew more and more comfortable as I prepared. I slept for 8 hours and worked for most of the rest of the day. My best friend and my brother made sure I had a good laugh each day. My dad made sure I was playing badminton or going for runs in the local park which helped me unwind seamlessly and my mom was during that time, as she has always been, the core of all my strength. When I think of this time last year, even before I perceive it in its entirety, the stark contrast between who I used to be and who I am, strikes me and I can’t help but think of how gorgeous the miracle of time and growth is. Having close relatives all across the national capital, I always had a soft corner for NLU Delhi but more than anything, the fact that it was established as late as 2008 and had managed to grow like no other institution fascinated me, for more than anything in my life I’ve craved growth. I found myself drawn to a University, cultured in the beautiful act of becoming and yearned to be a part of it- to fashion its ascent while working on my own.
College has made me much more uninhibited, responsible and sincere with respect to my work (not by any standard that deserves a mention but extremely relevant compared to last year). As I write this, it’s one in the night and I’ve had a packed day. There are literally so many things to try out like debating, quizzing, mooting, mediation, negotiation and the best part is that there is personal development to be found in each. I even have a really good game of badminton at least thrice a week! On days like these when I can feel the exhaustion kick in, when I realise that I’ve contributed in some reasonable fashion to the work in progress I am, I smile before falling asleep. Law school never for a moment lets you become complacent and once you get the hang of it you can’t help but love it for that.
Hunter S. Thompson on Hamlet’s dilemma said, “And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal.” It’s been only one semester and I have little clarity on what I’d like to do after these five years but I feel ludicrously optimistic enough to think that in law school floating with the tide eventually leads you to swim for your goal. With all the kinds of literature and social realities that law school sensitizes us towards, I can only imagine eyeballs rolling at my naïveté if I say I’m looking at life through rose rimmed spectacles. Nonetheless, in its own ridiculous manner, la vie en rose it has been so far, and so I should intend it to be.