This article has been submitted by Arbina Dey for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.
Just like thousands of other starry-eyed wannabe law students, two years ago I started my preparation for the biggest rat race, every aspiring law student alleges, there is – the Common Law Admission Test. Winning the race, well somewhat, and getting into my dream law school was the biggest myth-buster of my life. Suddenly, the CLAT exam and my All India Rank 129 seemed to matter so meekly. Heck, you could have been AIR 3 and people couldn’t have cared less. There is an entire array of things waiting to bite at your rear once you set foot in the hell ride that is law school.
In the very first class of a subject, which was unheard of by a normal high school student, I was penning down project submission deadlines and examination pattern. Out came from the mouth of professors, a string of legal terms, some of which I did come across in my LST modules and others that were honestly Latin to me. To aggravate the pain, there were these ultra smart chaps who seemed to know the answers before the questions even popped out. I wondered if they had taken a course on how to deal with things that succeed CLAT and “what to do if you make it to a law school”, but nope – nobody teaches you that.
By the end of the first week, there were so many doubts in so many topics that I stopped keeping track altogether and just made peace with the fact that I am, indeed, stupid. Then, there was the somewhat anticipated sentiment of cut throat competition and envy that was oozing out of every patch of the bubble I had so painstakingly created or from even so-called ‘friends’. From library assignments to making connections with seniors, the spirit of competition and the need to have an edge over others, sieved through every single sphere of my life in college. Also, just so you make a mental note, being an introvert can alone screw up the initial few days of your law school life, from the customary (forced, most of the times), “Hiiii, I am Arbina. Yeah. So, where are you from?” or “Nothing just having my dinner, eating some potato, you say what’s up?” to really uncomfortable ‘Ask out a senior to be your fresher’s date’ task, the handsome ability to gag yourself when you really must speak doesn’t really pay off that handsomely. I started to curse myself for not being that upbeat, super-sassy chick who appeared to be so comfortable with the new setting, that it made me feel like an ill-fitting sociopath. Oh, the food, yes the food! Take it from someone, who lives for food, no matter how great you think your mess food is, the monotonous menu and the progressively flavorless food, will tear you down till the point that the Domino’s delivery guy and the canteen wale dada become your best buds.
After three months of constant sulking about how everyone is so mean and badgering my parents about how I think I should have continued with Science instead of learning how to cite footnotes in OSCOLA, at some point I walked the holy path and ushered into the other side of the river, which was the real deal. And before I realized, there I was – gripped by the charms of the divinity that college suddenly was. I caught myself not wanting to go home in the Puja holidays, I’d rather stay back and go pandal hopping, carousing through the night with my gang. The first time I almost cried a little while seeing off my best friend for a long vacation, I realized not everyone was mean. It might take you a while and there might be some shuffling, following the occasional double crossing, but you will find your own set of gems. Yes you will be duped and you will feel betrayed but that is when the naïve, cloud-headed, nirvanic, rebellious you will transform into the practical, insightful and well, still rebellious Jack McCoy wannabe. Somewhere while missing my maayer hather dhokar-dalna, I fell in love with the maashi’s extra spicy cheese maggi. You might call me lame, but I find nothing more thrilling than completing a 72-hour-assignment by pulling an all-nighter on the last day. I stopped fearing the exams, when the late night study sessions with friends, by sneaking in food in the library, became the best part of my day. Round-the-campus walks post dinner, while playing spot the couple was my easiest stress-buster. I realized the list of events and celebrations in college is perpetual and so are the corresponding mall visits! The kick of debating for the first time (or perhaps the only time) and the ecstasy of organizing an event successfully was far more satisfying to me than binge watching shows in pajamas and hell, you all know that feels amazing! College was no more an institution; it was finally my home.
And now I am glad, I overcame the impulse to run away from all of it, and stood back every single time I was knocked down by the reality of life. One year of college taught me more about life than a decade and a half of schooling. One of the few seniors I know told me, “College will offer you all, the good and the bad, but you’ve got to make the best of it.” I think that is the sanest piece of advice I have ever received. From watching India-Pakistan finals in the auditorium to hazy after-parties and from midnight birthday celebrations to pointless drunken revelry, college will offer you everything you have ever desired, and if you’re lucky, you will fall in love and do all of the things I mentioned, with your sweetheart, and if you’re luckier, you won’t. Have some heart, be brave and forgive a lot, because, in the end, it’s all worth it.
Arbina Dey is a second year at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. She loves to read fiction and is a sucker for thrillers and mangas. She writes at times, when she feels overly romantic or overly depressed. Badminton and soft rock are among her other favourite things.