This article has been written by Mallika Sen (Batch of 2021)
To the dear incoming first years,
Yesterday must have been a day of unbridled joy for you. I still remember checking my result, and how absolutely ecstatic I was to know that I really was going where I had dreamed of being for 2 whole years. It was only a little over a year ago, but feels like it’s been a lifetime since then.
As you will soon realise, cynicism is a trademark trait you will pick up in law school. Faced with cutthroat competition, bitchy batchmates, unpalatable mess food and some well, terribly boring professors, it is quite easy, too easy really to start thinking that all the anticipation and excitement about being a student of this supposedly prestigious institution was really quite misplaced.
A lot of you may have friends from school or home who will now be your seniors in law school. And us law schoolites, being the way we are, would have probably told you only about the worst in this place, and not the best. I am guilty of it myself, seeing the worst in everything is perhaps disturbingly common here.
But do not let any of this bother you. Revel in your success, revel in having achieved your goal. This is the one month of your life, wherein your CLAT rank will be representative of the pinnacle of your achievement in life, so enjoy it, you deserve it.
Come July, enter the gates of this lush, green haven with the same twinkle in your eyes that you had when you imagined this moment, over and over again, through all those tedious hours of CLAT prep. A batchmate of mine took a picture in front of the library tower on her first day here, captioning it- “At NLSIU, the Kingdom of my Dreams”. And it really can be, if only you believe. It’s a different matter that she left in two weeks and proceeded to give an interview to Punjab University trashing NLS… Alright, she was a bad example. However, even if the rest of us weren’t as social media- public about it on that first day, all of us felt it.
It’s easy to let first trimester get you down. When you’ve topped your class all your life and now you’re in a class with thirty people just like you where some erstwhile topper has to come thirtieth, it can be hard. When you haven’t read a word of economics all your life and you suddenly have to understand how the reproduction of rats can possibly be an economic problem and write a ‘research paper’ (ooh, fancy words!) on it too, it’s easy to feel defeated. And when you sit for hours in boring Tort Law class, you will begin to question why you ever thought law could be interesting.
Some of you may already be very well- read, world aware, mature and wise. But for the rest of us, like you and I, law school is an eye- opening place. Has anyone every made you aware of your privilege? It had never happened to me, not before law school. (Shout out to LawSoc for that!) Occasionally, you will feel like some of these classes are genuinely making a difference to your life, and the way you think. I remember excitedly texting my mother in some Legal Methods class saying, “Wow, I feel like I’m really getting an education.” This is not an everyday sentiment, (I mean who are we kidding, it’s usually along the lines of “God, save me from law school”) but when you do feel this way, and trust me you will, it will all be worth it. (Side Note: Don’t text in class. Or at least in first trimester lol.)
Committee applications will be exhilarating when you see everything that law school has to offer, and then disappointing if you don’t get what you want. There’s a lot to do in law school even if you don’t get a committee, so don’t be disheartened, there is always next year. Events like Spiritus and Strawberry Fields are flat out incredible in first year, and will make you fall in love with law school just a little bit more.
I could go on and on and describe every event in law school to you, so you’d walk into these hallowed hallways knowing everything that there is to know about this place. I’m sure many of you are already scrounging the internet, lurking on the NLS website, trying to find out as much as you can about this elusive island of excellence, we’ve all done it. But there is nothing like experiencing law school, naive and fresh with no pre-conceived notions. I wouldn’t want to cheat you of the experience that I had, neither the good, nor the bad.
So, dear incoming first years, come July, your life will change. It is up to you to decide if this is for the better or the worse, there is equal opportunity here for you to choose either option. I really do hope, from the bottom of my heart that it is the former.
Welcome to the National Law School. It sucks. You’re going to love it.
Always on your side,
A well- meaning, soon to be senior.
(Who also happens to be genuinely sad about the impending loss of her first year privileges- I have to BUY my own alcohol now?!)
P.S. Nagarbhavi, (affectionately: Nags) which is where law school is, is Kannada for “well of snakes”. Careful where you step, we saw one on our very first day, and you will never be safe from snakes in law school, if you know what I mean.