This article was submitted to us by Wafa Khatheeja Rahman, a first year at NUALS, Kochi.
As the car disappeared into the horizon, a part of me wanted to run behind it like a mad woman and beg my parents to take me back. Fortunately, that part of me was not so dominant. I wish I knew how I felt about my first day at University. It’s easy to just say ‘I am nervous’ or ‘I am excited!’ than say ‘I’m really not sure how I feel about this’. The only thing I was sure of was that I’d miss home and that I wouldn’t be going there very often, at least, not frequently for the next five years. So I looked for bricks to build my home here. I have had a reputation for having a terrible choice of bricks which have resulted in lots of unfinished and sometimes even toppled-down to-be-homes, so I was meticulous and suspicious of every brick I met. My only consolation was that I was fortunate enough to have been granted a good, trust-worthy foundation stone- an old friend.
My apprehensions waned. Not soon but soon enough. On some bricks I stumbled, while others I chose. And now, more than half a twelvemonth later, life at NUALS is happy. Happy, because no other word could do more justice to it. Having had listened to dozens of hostel horror situations from friends at other Colleges and Universities, NUALS Hostel was a sort of paradise. Sure, I missed hot water baths sometimes, but a neat, functional room with an attached bathroom was more than one could ask for. The first week witnessed many awkward introductions among batch-mates and friendly interactions with seniors. But as the days passed and leaves fell, the awkwardness became non-existent and the friendliness, well, got friendlier. Classes were mostly a blur. They demanded little attention and effort in the first semester, or so the wiser ones told us. We didn’t even have too many law subjects in the first semester. There was law of Torts and there was Legal Methods. Legal Methods was easily everybody’s favourite subject, over English even, and that was owing entirely to our Professor alone. Some of our professors are brilliant at keeping our interest and attention. And the few who weren’t, didn’t mind too much if we fell asleep. Or at least, they pretended not to and we loved them for it. And so, that’s what the first semester was all about- finding your niche, knowing your people and we were deliberately granted this time to do so. There are some things about NUALS that I love terribly. NUALS is at least a good half hour from the hustle and bustle of town, and when you’re living on the fifth floor of your hostel in God’s own country, the view is really something. Especially in the mornings when it is just a little cold and the mist is dramatically disappearing to uncover all the green. It’s peaceful. Or the Ninja Spot! It’s a pretty-ish little space in the administrative block where the debating culture flourishes. Why and how it got its name is an unsolved mystery. Or the little malayali Dhaba next to the University. Or the Uthappams we get Friday mornings for breakfast. And on rare occasions when food fails to cheer me up, friends do. Weekends are generally spent in Lu-Lu, the biggest mall in the country, catching a movie or binging on food, or buying our junk food supplies to survive the week. Some days, when we are feeling more adventurous, we head to Fort Kochi and visit the art cafés, Jewish shops, museums and palaces.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if an assignment is to be submitted the following month, work is initiated on it the night before and it is a truth my friends and I followed that religiously. I barely got a whiff of law school in the first semester, life was too peaceful. Apparently, this was only the preparation for the battle ground that law school is. After days of having pulled all-nighters and faring reasonably well in the semester exams, we were to intern for three weeks and vacation for another three after returning from which, NUALS greeted us with a Freshers’ moot Court competition. Unfortunately, our universal truth didn’t work too well there. We had to work and we had to work hard. It was funny how just a month ago you had nothing to do and one fine morning, you’re a part of the reception committee for the Chief Justice of India who would be inaugurating the new administrative block, an involuntary volunteer for three events for our National Cultural Fest NAALAM and struggling to find time to research for your moot court competition which is just three days away. It’s like the whole universe suddenly conspired to make our lives as eventful as possible just to make up for one semester of uneventfulness. As all chapters do, these passed too, or at least some parts of them. NAALAM is still round the corner and so is Altus Disputatio, a debate in the format of Devil’s Cross, organized by the first years and the wheels have started turning weeks ago. Apart from this, we have a whole list of events lined up following NAALAM and Altus Disputatio. And that translates to us getting didley-squat sleep, a hell-lotta work and whole lot of fun.
There have been some bad days, but there have been more good ones. For as long you have had more good ones, you’re good. Actually, you’re great.
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