The following article is a psychological advisory (read: shameless preaching) for new entrants to Law School by Aman Vasavada with inputs from Srinivas Narasimhan Cummaragunta (spell that right, kid), both of whom are II Year students.
First year goes by too fast. Time itself warps under the overwhelming presence of all things Law School in your new lifestyle and we think it is only fair to warn our incoming first years to brace themselves for what they’ve signed up for.
The most obvious effect of this overbearing atmosphere is the development of the ‘Law School State of Mind’ (Alicia Keys, eat your heart out). This State of Mind is a chronic cognitive anomaly, endemic to a few acres in Nagarbhavi. It alters one’s perception and sense-experience, often not along the lines you expected. As you would have already noticed, Law School does not really match your picture of everyone looking dapper in blazers hurriedly roaming around with their briefcases and discussing the Constitution of India all day. Life is anything but monochrome here. Flux is constant.
Before we proceed, let us formally welcome you.
Welcome to the Law School State of Mind. You are now a part of the latent, human infrastructure that defines this institution and its culture. You are now a module in a meta-network of ideas that shall reconfigure your being in numerous and inexplicable ways.
You may find yourself in an environment previously inconceivable to your unenlightened mind. Your bubbles will be burst and new ones will be moulded, except you will recognize their ephemerality this time because now you are woke af. You may stoop to what your erstwhile morality would have considered its nadir, but you’ll walk away with a smile because of your new worldview. You might achieve more glamour than you had ever dreamed of but remain unsatisfied because your desires are now unconventional.
You shall henceforth abide by the Law School Standard Time, which lies at UTC+5:30+the prevailing mood. If the mood around you is lazy, you know you can afford to be late – that’s just how the meta-network governs your every action. At the stroke of midnight hour, when the rest of Nagarbhavi sleeps, the Invisible Hand shall lure you to the hallowed steps of Chetta. There you shall find your fellow moths congregating around this life-giving flame as they seductively demand their nightly rations of Maggi and Coke. You shall learn the essential arts of procrastination, avoidance, subversion, retrospective justification, et al – collectively connoted by the term ‘scamming’.
Things will transcend from Positive Interaction to Perfunctory Intoxication, now that Freshers’ is done with. Events will enslave you. Your consent is a joke. Soon enough, though, you will be revelling in this very slavery, begging and scamming your way into volunteering for something every week for the various personal gains you can derive. Experts have found that most inmates of Law School are victims of Stockholm Syndrome. You are always going to be against the system. But the system is going to suck you in anyway. And you are going to end up enjoying whatever you do. And that is how you emancipate yourself.
You will land up in daily situations you couldn’t have imagined yourself in. You may find yourself championing a cause in the streets in the morning and hours later brooding over the human condition while smoking a fag and watching the sunset on the roof. You may simultaneously find yourself enthusiastically exploring new foods, products and places by the day while voraciously consuming a genre of pop culture you once had no idea existed by night.
Congratulations. You have now been upgraded to You, version 2.0. Code name: Law Schoolite.
Are you here for the academic excellence this institution allows for? By all means, delve into it. But it is likely that You 2.0 won’t be so excited about studies in a while. Making projects is going to become akin to all the messy municipal roadworks here in Bangalore. Both involve digging up random shit at five different places, leaving things stalled for a long while, and ultimately, on a final, extended deadline, scrambling to somehow connect all the shit and make it look like a completed effort. Not very exciting, huh? Examinations will represent a period of chronic panic-attacks or existential nonchalance (depending upon your personality), either way resulting in four all-nighters fuelled by your choice of stimulant, ranging from some mild Chetta coffee to a gallon of Tzinga to your choice of prohibited elixirs.
Does it have to be this way? Not at all. Many people are only superficially affected and many develop greater legitness and propriety along the way. But this is what the Law School atmosphere shall push you into. You are the warrior; the master of your own ship. I’m just showing you how the sea behaves.
Are you here for the opportunities? Don’t lose your sanity while trying to build up a great CV – a mission all of us tend to embark upon right from the start. Don’t become a typical Law School robot who spends its time trudging through BT all along and finds its true happiness only with a bottle of Old Monk. Make choices that will let you enjoy your time here, not merely those that could embellish your résumé.
The takeaway, young warrior, is NOT that the Law School State of Mind is an evil, coercive puppeteer that you must defend against. It is good to embrace it; to experience it. But do not let it devour you. Allow it to reform you but you must be your own filter. Explore with a semi-permeable firewall that lets in only what you want to let in. Be one with the State of Mind but do not become the State of Mind.