By: Neeati Narayan (Batch of 2016 | Symbiosis Law School – Pune)
I am not THE junior anymore! Thank you, you guys, for rescuing me and my batch-mates. From what, you ask? Continue reading.
First things foremost, heartiest congratulations to you people for making it to Symbiosis Law School, Pune (Let’s call it SLS, yeah?) this year.
As for me, I’ve been there, done that. (Always wanted to say that out loud)
It’s one hell of a new beginning. You will learn lots of things, some absolutely meaningless and fickle; while some will help in the making of the actual you.
There are so many things I want to talk about in here. When I first got admitted into SLS, I had absolutely no idea how to progress. Where do you go? What do you do? I am a little reclusive by nature, so I did not grab them seniors and pester the hell out of them in the very first week. So I was lost in the open sea, a little scared and dubious. But that hopeless scene has beautifully developed into what I am right now: a little too confident, ready to take on the world. Soon enough.
I’m sure you people will also feel what I experienced a year ago. So I thought about making a gist of the basic stuff you are required and expected to do. This is not a survival guide essentially but I do hope it will help you out.
1. Try not to listen to people who are sneering at you for joining SLS. They don’t know shit about the college in its present state. A few past misgivings are still prevailing shamelessly and are being circulated in form of BS myths. Be proud that you’re gaining admission in here. If everyone thought the way these prejudiced people do, SLS wouldn’t have had applications to choose from. But it did, did it not? So don’t even go there.
2. It is the truest thing in the world – college doesn’t matter, it’s you who does. I know, people have been saying this since time immemorial (Really, though? 😛 ) and you might be a little too full of it by now. But trust me; I couldn’t be any more honest about the SLS culture. It’s true, you have to perform loads better, give in more of hard-work, show more of grit and determination but if you do these, there’s no stopping you. Top tier NLU’s have it easier than us, speaking comparatively. So what? Hard work will get you anywhere. And that’s what SLS teaches you. Achieving accolades through your individual merits is a feeling nothing else can beat. I see people sniggering at the rank bestowed to us by India Today’s survey, No.4 – me thinks? Why don’t we deserve it though? If not no.4, then SLS is definitely somewhere in the range of 5 to 7, have no second thoughts about it.
3. Okay, yeaaah, our infrastructure is practically non-existent. And we have been promising a new campus since some 10 years or so but haven’t been able to implement it so far. I know it is little bit of a letdown but things are looking good in the future. All these years we were not able to grab a piece of land to build an edifice on because we were looking at all the wrong places. Now, we have acquired a real, tangible piece of land in Viman Nagar and a whole new campus coming up soon enough. So drop the attitude fun-pokers. And up until the time we are stuck in the famous 12 BHK building complex, you should enjoy the amazing location of the campus- S.B. Road is the best connected area in Pune and gives you an edge to do almost ANYTHING you want nearby. You can do further exploring on your own.
4. SLS is a lot more casual than most of the NLU’s but it is not as slapdash as people tell it to be. You get your own space, but the academics are pretty strict. The college really can’t decide on who you choose your friends to be and who you resolve to mingle with. It’s your own call and you have to start being accountable for your life out there. Your batch will consist of great folks, studious and academically focused individuals, not-so-good people, snooty bitches, uptight bastards, dopers, drunkards, smokers etc. All this is much more visible in a batch of 200+ as compared to the NLU crowd of 80. But trust me, the proportion is mostly the same. Anyway, you have to make a choice here. Will it be a party-until-3-AM or a party-light-and-study-hard attitude? College is supposed to be fun, I know. You see amazing movies of college culture and you are like, ‘Whee! I am in a college. Dude, I am gonna live it awesome’. But the reality is a little different. So far, I have not seen any movie correctly depicting a law college and it’s a shame. The reality is a little different here. You can party all you want but your priority should be your academics. I may sound like a boring, old hag but you will realise it sometime at the end of your first year, like many people in my batch did.
5. People will change. You may start off with friend groups of 15+ people, acting all cool and shit and feeling pretty good about yourselves. As time passes, the numbers will dwindle. You’ll be mightily confused.. What went wrong? Come the year’s end and you will be left with some 2-3 people around you. Are they real? Only time will tell. Most of the first year friendships do not last very long. You have to deal with changing mood-swings and contradictory point of views. As life progresses, you will learn to deal with it. People are a lot more selfish than you’ve experienced in the years before. You will make mistakes and will be wiser with every new one.
6. Learn the art of jugaad and choosing the right seniors for your guidance. You have to be super polite about these things. One smirk, one misplaced expression and you are out of the league, my friends. You won’t be ragged in the college, for sure. That fundamental phase of your college life will come to you during college fests and it is uber fun. It’s not like the sick ragging we hear about in engineering or medical colleges. You might call it… intelligent ragging? =D
7. You people will be subjected to the worst kind of torture possible in the form of introductory sessions. I am absolutely NOT going to miss that part of my first year. It is the most boring thing on Earth but you will learn some important things. So try not to miss too many of them. Also you first years will be the scapegoats for attending all the lectures by guests lined up this year. Hah! All the best for that.
8. Canteen serves okay-to-good Chinese, depending on the mood of the cook. There you will be introduced to an awesome person, Tushar bhaiyya – the cashier of Symbi Canteen. Dude, is he fun! And the best part is that he gives you change whenever you ask for it. You’ll know the importance of change as soon as you enter Pune. Tushar always puts up upbeat songs on the canteen stereo, greets you with a smile and tells you to add him on facebook. And he has posted several pictures with celebrities which are a happy affair to go through in your bored-out-of-wits-with-nothing-else-to-do times.
9. NCC Canteen will help you throughout your college life. Situated right next to the front-gate of SLS Campus (Yeah, go on. Laugh hard at that one) it is the backbone of most of the on-going college social life. Food is average at low prices compared to the expensive life of Pune. Try the french fries, omelet, and fried rice there. You might like it. Maintain a good rapport with the owner and the cashier and you’ll be blessed with good seating arrangement, better tasting-food and a generally happy life. Also, smokers, you can go down to the basement level of the canteen and smoke ALL you want in there with other addicted souls.
10. Academics are easy if you put in an ounce of hard work with a dash of common sense. Trust me on that. Plus, we have the illusive CGPA system (You will have a lecture over that too. HAHAHAHA!); where your performance is relative to the performance of your batch. The lazier your batch is, the easier it is to score away. The worse it performs, the better you do. Law of Torts is the easiest subject in law but don’t take it too lightly. Jurisprudence will be a bitch; you might sleep in the lectures. Law of Contracts is a funnily deceptive subject. You will hate it the entire semester that you study it, but you will love it during the exam times. I know I did.
11. We have ugly uniforms for the first two years. I mean who wears white and BROWN! And the tailor you are giving shitloads of money to will give you the worst material ever. Piece of advice, GET IT ALTERED THE SECOND YOU RECEIVE IT. Girls, your saving grace will be Pantaloons in S.B. Road where you will get Brown jeans from the *AND* brand, brown patialas and brown what-nots! So mix and match and feel a little less ugly!
12. Learn to admire the awesomeness of mooting, people! Moots are what make the law schools worthwhile of all the trouble. Moots are simply amazing activities which make you learn a lot and link your theoretical knowledge to the harsh practical realities of practicing law. You guys are very lucky compared to the first years in other law schools. You get to moot some 3 times in the first year itself. You will have a compulsory moot as a part of your internal evaluation for Jurisprudence and Torts. It is the easiest thing in the world and you will feel just great after emerging from the court room after having presented your case. We have some incredibly wonderful seniors who constitute the Moot Court Association of our college and who organise the Novice Moot Elimination for people who are interested in mooting at the state – level, in the first year itself! The best part is, irrespective of your rank, you get to moot in state competitions anyway.
13. You ask the same question again and again. WE DONT HAVE HOSTEL facilities, newbies! Why don’t you get it? The only ones who get them are the SET toppers or people with exceptional *jugaad*. If you fit in neither of those categories, don’t even bother asking for it. You have got to look around for your own PGs, flats, other hostels etc. For girls, I would like to suggest Sharada Niketan (not for hard-core party people, though). If you like an exceptionally secure environment, are okay with 8.45 in-timings and a little strictness, then there is no better place for you to bunk up for your first year. You will have loads of Symbi seniors in here, a HUGE library and clean premises. The food is bad-to-okay, but that’s a general case all over Pune. North Indians will HATE Pune for a few months. Later, you get a hang of it because you seriously can’t help it.
14. TAKE YOUR ATTENDANCE SERIOUSLY. The attendance requirement is a meager 70%. Please respect it. A noticeable chunk of my batch could not appear for semester exams because of TNG (That’s an acronym for a term suggesting BAD attendance). Yeah, fake medical reports MIGHT help you out a little. But try to be punctual. Recruiters dig it. =)
That’s pretty much all for now.