By Bharat Itagi
First of all, let me congratulate all those who have made it through CLAT. Well done!
I had my final exams on and I seldom got the opportunity to get updates regarding CLAT. Out of the 100% news that I have read about CLAT, at least 90% is about aspirants who have got less marks and thereby cannot make it to the so called elite schools. I was fed up of the posts that I see on numerous CLAT groups on Facebook.
It is then that I decided to share my story of “CLAT? WHAT?” and pen this down for all those who have not made it to a National Law Schools (NLS). For all those who are studying or have studied at NLUs, please note that this post is not to hurt or demote you or your institution in any which way.
Instead, this is for the benefit of all those thousands of aspirants who are behaving as if they have lost the world. Forgive me if it is very informal.
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Folks! Five years ago, I was a student like you who secured a very low rank in CLAT and could not make it to top National Law Schools of the country. I was disappointed. I was more disappointed because I had not done well in my pre-university course (PUC) too. I had to make a decision of my life.
Pursuing law was one of my interest but on the other side of the coin, I grew up thinking that I will represent Indian Cricket Team and spent at least 9 hours a day on a cricket field slogging it out. I was wondering whether I must continue playing competitive cricket or quit it and somehow get involved in academics. I got stuck in between all of this.
Thanks to my parents and my brother, I decided to pursue Law at University College of Law, Dharwad renamed as Karnatak University’s Sir Siddappa Kambali Law College (no you cant spell the name properly!). Now, how many of you heard of this college? How many of you have heard of Dharwad? It is my hometown.
My friends outside Karnataka, let alone outside India, fail to locate it. In fact whenever I try help people with the pronunciation of the new name of my college, they go crazy!
Has it affected me a wee bit? The answer is NO.
As soon as I joined my college, with the guidance from teachers, I decided to quit playing competitive cricket so that I can concentrate on an academic career.
It was a difficult one but I had to do it. Some still think that it was a wrong move because I was good enough with whatever I could play. This decision made me think every now and then as to whether I was right in deciding so.
However, reflecting back upon my 5 years at college, I don’t think so. I have loved every bit of my time at a “Non-National Law School.”
My accomplishments despite not being a student of any elite schools stands testimony to the false notion that merit goes unrecognized unless you study at National Law Schools. It is with this belief and zeal I embarked on extra curricular activities apart from being a topper of my class. I said CLAT? WHAT?!
Studying in this very college I was able to intern at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Malayisa, I completed the summer course at The Hague Academy of International Law – Netherlands, I was the Chairperson of Alexis Centre for Study and Research in Law for three years. I was the President of World Law Dialogue, which I along with my team made it happen in Dharwad.
I have also participated in many international and national conferences abroad as a delegate, a facilitator and a coordinator too. I have even been a Head Facilitator of International Youth Leadership Conference.
I have published my articles in various magazines, delivered speeches at youth forums and have done many more things that have become an integral part my CV!
While doing all this, I could still find time to play cricket. I represented Karnatak University twice and continued to play for my club as a Captain. Having interacted with many people who have studied at National Law Schools, I doubt whether one could do so much merely because of the amount of academic pressure and responsibility that is on them.
And guess what? I had no stress of heavy tuition fee being paid by my parents like for the students at NLS because my parents spent not more than Rs. 50,000 as tuition fees for 5 years of my law school.
Let me tell you another advantage of studying in a college like mine from my own experience. Here, I could be a leader, I could be a topper. It was very easy for me to be someone who was recognized by all at my college. From teachers to fellow students to non-teaching staff.
Yes, to be honest, competition within the college was not as much as I would want. However, when you are competing with yourself everyday, you don’t think of anything else. All you want to do is get better with each day.
People argue that one would not get as much exposure and opportunities as they would by studying in an NLU. I agree. I also confess that I did not get the best infrastructure that is around in an NLU. So what? My college, very importantly, gave time for myself to explore for opportunities, which I think, is what has helped me evolve over a period of time.
Today, as I write this, I do not hold an offer letter with hefty package of salary from any law firms, MNCs or any other organization. What do I have?
I have a CV and required skills that secured me offers from renowned universities abroad to pursue my masters, I have thousands of friends around the world who can accommodate me whenever I visit them and an amazing family who will stand by me no matter what I decide to do in life. More importantly I am equipped with the ability to believe that I can tackle any problem that I can face in life. What more can I ask for?
Say “CLAT? WHAT?” and get going fellows. If I could do it, so can YOU. Stop worrying about not making it through CLAT.
Explore the world of opportunities around you. Travel as much as you can. Never be afraid of your fears. They should not scare you because they are only there to let you know that something is worth it. Challenge yourself and challenge the people around you.
Always make sure to change the lives of people in need. Remember its only you who can do it. Neither any college nor anyone else. I can assure that there is no bigger achievement than making someone genuinely happy because of your actions. Certainly not even making it through CLAT.
I hope these 20 minutes of my time will help you in deciding what’s best for you. As I always say, we will win. If not immediately, but DEFINITELY!
Best Wishes! 🙂
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org