This article was submitted by Shreshtha Mathur, a first year (Batch 2016-2021) at the National Law University, Jodhpur.
Sometimes an astronaut because of the Kalpana Chawla fascination , occasionally a simple homemaker because of the invaluable contentment , briefly a painter thanks to a phase and somedays an architect with the urge to build . But somehow in the back of my mind , amongst all these childhood dilemmas , the inkling of donning a black robe and serving the purpose of justice made a lot of sense and fit into my life plan perfectly . I can be very precisely described as a small town girl with big dreams in her eyes. As a child , my aspirations always used to change but when I hit some considerable maturity in 9th class my answer to the question , “ what do you want to become when you grow up?” stopped wavering and I became firm about the idea of becoming a lawyer someday. After four years of stalking my school seniors studying there , two years of coaching and one month in Nirma Institute of Law, I landed in my dream college, the National Law University , Jodhpur. I had heard all about it all: the liberal culture, chilled out parties, fascinating people, back breaking academic pressure, intimidating over achievers and what not.
When I joined Nirma I was calm because everyone around me was nervous , it being our first day . I gradually made some great friends there who are worth mentioning because they got me through a rough time transitioning from the comfortable home life to a hostel life . Living in a new city , leaving my hometown miles behind was exhilarating and intimidating ; all at once. I cherished every second of it and then came the much awaited call from NLUJ. It was a dream come true for my entire family , especially my supportive father who encouraged me at every step of the way. Coincidently when the admission call came , I had come home for the weekend from Ahmedabad and was dining with my family at a restaurant so it turned into a celebration with joyful , teary eyes and a cake that came out of nowhere. But when I came home , the sudden realization that I had to leave the life I built at Nirma behind , compete with one of the best students in the country and go through the dreadful experience of being a newcomer in a college once again hit me ; my excitement evaporated and my anxieties started taking shape.
Finally, my first day in my dream college arrived . When I stepped into the campus I was awestruck by its beauty and charming environment. I swallowed the lump in my throat, put the butterflies in my stomach to rest and embarked on the most special journey of my life. I see my college as the foundation of my career, the unholy temple of legal learning and the path I have to walk on in order to reach my destiny. Yes! There is no denying that first days are hard; they usually mean sitting alone, talking to uninterested strangers and exploring the campus. That pretty much summed up my first day too except for the fact that my peers were already well settled and had made their peace with their first month anxieties whereas I hadn’t attended to the ones I had on the first day.But, I was determined to stay optimistic.
Studying in a college in your hometown means having the best of both worlds ; Imagine the fun and frolic of the hostel life coupled with homemade food , well that is how it feels. It also means running away from all your issues for the weekend whenever you wish to . In the first month of my college life in NLUJ, that is exactly what I did. I see-sawed my way through it. I ran home on coming across unhygienic mess food, I ran home when I had trouble making new friends, I ran home on getting grossed out by a dirty washroom and I ran home when I was unable to score well. I dashed towards home every chance and excuse I got. My loving parents were always thrilled to have me around more but I eventually realised that I am stretching my problems by being an escapist so I cut down the home visits. Another initial struggle of college is the ragging period. It is the most bittersweet thing in the world. It is strict but the outcome is worth it. We have amazingly supportive seniors at NLUJ, no matter who one contacts and who is contacting they will support and guide one with the same zeal. What they have managed to achieve in such little time is a source of constant inspiration and motivation for me and my batchmates.
Hardly had I made friends and settled in this new environment, when I had to face the next phase which I like to call as the academic struggle. I was completely clueless about the study pattern, I had missed all the workshops and most of the classes which took a toll on my grades. Getting notes photocopied, consulting teachers and batchmates could not compensate for the loss of rhythm and classes. I was always an average but diligent student but being pre-occupied with other stuff led me to ignore the most important aspect of college: studies. So, I ended up with a bad G.P.A. in my first semester but I am determined to improve and do well in the upcoming semesters.
If you have heard a little about NLUJ, then you must be aware of the crazy parties and the liberal culture of the college. Boozing , smoking, the bold clothes and behavior of the students came as a bit of a cultural shock to a small town girl like me shielded by my parents all my life but I eventually got used to the environment and to the fact that I don’t have to follow the footsteps of others ; it is a choice and everyone at NLUJ respects each other’s choices .
Another fact about NLUJ or any other premier league law school is that it teaches you how to be a clown by making you juggle and laugh at yourself. There is so much to do, there is no end to it. There are committees to join, workshops to attend, tests to prepare for, presentations to make, CREs (Court Room Exercises) and moots to research for and what not. The balls may sometimes fall from your hands but that is how you learn to juggle well so, learn to laugh at yourself in the process. Pick the balls up and start juggling from scratch.
With each passing day, I felt more connected to the college, the people and the campus. The long walks around the campus at night, hanging out with friends at the AMUL shop ( we have one! ), eating the horrible mess food and amongst other stuff I started falling deeply in love with my college.
The tide did turn, the waves became faster but I kept moving forward without looking back.
One of my all time favourite quotes from me all time favourite tv show is “eventually, over time, we all become our own doppelgangers, you know, these completely different people who just happen to look like us.” That’s how I feel after surviving a semester; I feel more ready to face the challenges coming my way the next semester, I feel stronger and more confident; I feel like doppelganger Shreshtha and it makes me sure that I am only going to get better after every semester because that is what law school does to you, it changes you for the better.
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