Puppy Training for CLAT Aspirants: Adjusting to the Law College Life

This was first published on Legally India here on June 10, 2010.

Dear tennie weenie Law Student,

Welcome to a National Law University. Whichever NLU it is; some things will apply; things which are perennial and all embracing. Things like laws(?). And you’ll have to adjust to these things. I call it puppy training.

What I say here is not the gospel truth. I don’t say that you necessarily follow it. But it will help you some bit. It will give you a perspective. It will give you time to ruminate; ruminate slowly, digest and grow stronger.

Another thing: The five years will change you, for good. Why I am writing this is to help you gain a head-start, to warn you of the pit falls so that the good becomes better (hopefully).

Let me start with ‘adjustment’.

You are nearing adulthood. You have arrived at a college. You are in a new city. You will meet people from all parts of the country. You will have no parents around. A different room. A roommate. Law. Law books. Research papers. Roommate. Food. Air. Water. Friends. Roommate. Enemies. Teachers. Seniors. Roommate. Hostel. Drinks. Money. Roommate.

So you’ll have to adjust. Especially with your roommate. J

OK. Now, let me begin. I’ll sound preachy. Excuse me for that.

Firstly, this is not your home. Your cosy home is gone. Your flavoured, tailor-made milk which your mom brought to the bedside is gone. The home made food is gone. Even the water will taste different.

The TV viewing will be democratic. You might miss a Chelsea match. You might miss the India-Australia cricket match; depending on the way the vote sways. This is not your home.

It will soon become, though. Give it a year. With time you will love it more than your home. Give that another four years. Till then, be strong. Don’t cry. Don’t cry on the phone especially.

Lower your expectations. Expect less. The size of your room will surprise you. Expect it to be small. The habits of your roommate will surprise you. Expect less from him. Among the five teachers you’ll get; two will be trolls, two will be average. Expect less from them.

But that one teacher is why you are here in an NLU. He’ll be brilliant. You’ll also come in contact with some friend, brilliant chaps. You’ll also take some forks in the road which require hard work to tread upon them successfully till the destination. And then, your dreams will know no bounds. Expect a lot.

Learn yogic penance. It aids slogging. If you want to do well here and get that Amarchand offer; prepare to slog. Sitting for five lectures in a day will require great yogic penance. Doing the readings for the next day, again yogic penance. Yogic penance for researching for the upcoming moot; an essay etc. Learn yoga. Learn how superman works. Combine that. Practice that.

Don’t worry. You’ll have a lots of time to chill. When you are a master, yoga assists in that too.

Opportunities will fly like birds. Be vigilant like a hunter. Keep the bow strings attached, taut and ready to hit. Aim for the target. Hit. Aim. Hit. Keep doing that. The birds will make a good meal.

Well this is what generally happens. When you’ll enter the law school you’ll be flooded with opportunities. You’ll be awed. Mesmerised. You’ll close your eyes trying to imbibe it all and by the time you’ll open your eyes, it is gone. Be on your toes. Aim and hit. Don’t wait.

Don’t worry. You will have a lots of time to chill. Soon hunting becomes an art and the hunter becomes a Zen expert. That will happen too. But till then, keep hitting.

The principle of pain and pleasure. Bunking a class will give you pleasure. It is fun. Bunking classes will be a bigger pleasure. But it will soon turn to pain. You’ll be debarred from a paper. Learnt to differentiate between the two; pain and pleasure. It will hold you in good stead.

Finally, let me tell you: first year is the toughest year. Because you have to adjust to myriad things. On days when the clouds are heavy and dark you might also consider leaving the law school. But wait. Wait for the lightning to strike your brain and return you to your sane self. By being a reasonable chap you will do well. By the time you start your second year; you’ll realise why this was the best thing that happened to you.

Yours preachingly,

Legal Poet

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