Akash Joshi writes this piece, retrospecting and at the same time, giving you a sneak peak into what goes into being a first semester Law School student (perfect or otherwise).
You’re staring at the wrought iron gates with the golden shield stuck to it. Beside it, you see the grey bricked pillars with JUSTICE CITY written in the vertical, shining steel. And then there’s written in bold on a red background – NALSAR, University of Law. It feels like THE place. It’s like – “This is it.” You’ve written the CLAT, achieved a good rank and that is why you’re here. Congratulations. Four months into the “this is it” place, you feel quite not so.
The first day goes like any other admission day to a new institution. The Vice-Chancellor spills points of perfection about the college and why it is the best. Believe me, they are not words of wisdom and you not accepting them won’t bar you from admission. But you just nod your head in complicity and answer the questions with an ephemeral formality. You proceed on to gaze around the campus with lush green lawns and (operating) fountains. The dining hall, library are just some other buildings. What awaits the most is your abode for the next five years, the HOSTEL. What you witness are blank rooms with iron cots and small tables. Don’t crib. It turns out just fine when you start living and more importantly, adjusting.
As to how the four months of the first semester pass, it can be restrained to one word – SWEEP! At the last day of the semester, you are euphoric indeed (because examination time is the only time when you are actually busy) but somewhere there is this feeling inside – “dude, this semester has just gone, next semester, I have to work, and I have to be more involved.” You’re in a law school but these four months don’t feel like you’ve been in one. What did I do so as to make myself a law student these four months? You don’t have to make yourself a law student; you are by the virtue of being in a law school. But when you see seniors mooting (not mooting though, but dressed up in those black suits and walking with a lawyer-ish air) and talking about memorials and sections of that act and that provision, you feel blank and to put it more bluntly, stupid.
Now, this is where the excellent thing about being in a law school comes. There’s another chance next semester. If you live these four months like I’ve done (rather most of us here have), you’ll definitely have the guilty-cribby feeling. But the two month break can either conjure magic or completely screw things for you. I am in that phase right now – the two month break and am yet to witness the end result.
Talking about academics, you can’t do much by just being there in the class for the sake of attendance (although just being there sometimes also helps, there are marks for attendance). There’s nothing you can do only by listening blankly to professors’ lectures and smiling with an I-understand-everything-sir/ma’am air when they look at you. It is not going to help anyone. But yes, you get more time to enjoy and kill more time because you understand everything and don’t need to go through anything. The library looks like a dungeon, a place only for the geeks and the wannabe-geeks. So you end up either laying in the green grass, or walking the road or if not anything else, eating at the cafe. Even if you have despised tea all your life, at 4:30 P.M. every day, you’d be at the mess filling tea into disposable glasses and moreover having a nice, picinic-ish tea time at the pavement, the road, the mess steps , the library steps or if not so, you’d be just accompanying the tea-drinkers wherever they are.
When you enter the college (we all hope, you do!), there are big posters of anti-ragging and the several measures and sanctions against it. There are big notices as to the myriads of punishment that would be doled out in the event that there is any ‘ragging.’ Does this happen? Are we ragged ….Well, that can be best answered when you’ve swotted and landed here.
On a more serious note, though, these four months passed in a sweep just because of one important factor – Hostel and friends. What I believe is that it would have passed with a sweep in a more comfortable manner if proper nouns called books and the abstract noun called academics had been befriended too. But this is realized at the end of the semester when what has gone by cannot be changed, what can be done is to take steps and measures for the next semester.
Let not whatever I have babbled this long give a picture that this place has people only drinking tea or walking the road or lying on the grass. What I have tried to build a picture is that what I and most of my batch mates have been a part of. It is not that every fresher batch is supposed to kill time. It is just that in the first semester, you are quite burden-less because you don’t have to glorify the name of the university by doing a great service to it. You just have to mind your business, and the semester goes on smoothly.
There’s also a very prevalent phenomenon called home-sickness which, at one point or the other, finds its way into you and by the end of the semester (rather in that last hour of the last exam of the end-semester examination series), you’ve pictured yourself in your bed at home, the lawn, and you’ve even started loving the earlier despised ghar-ka-khaana. And at the end of it all, when you leave in your taxi/auto/bus towards the station/airport, there’s a wide smile on your face and if not on the face, there is an awesome feeling inside. This is justified not because university was a prison but because for a period of four months, you’ve been away from luxury, from a place where you get free laundry, from a place where food is served, from a place with large beds and side lamps. All this might not be true but you like to believe in it.
What can be called as a sum-up of the 4-month period it can be either awesome or hell depending what you do to yourself. If you’ve befriended your batch mates and made one or two awesome friends, then time goes on smoothly. Even if you’ve befriended books and academics, the semester goes on as smooth. If you’re doing both, you’re a winner. But if you’re stuck somewhere between all of this, then it is not good. Seriously. Do whatever you’re doing with full heart, although observing and complying with certain ground rules and you’ll love the place.