I had turned 18 around a year before going to NALSAR but it was only at this place I realised what adulting truly is. Having lived in the comforts of my home for all my life, it was a major challenge for me to get out of my home and live in this far flung place all on my own. Yet, I was really excited and had been waiting for this opportunity for the whole of my drop year. I knew that these five years will be the most transformative years of my life. It will change me in ways I cannot imagine. I had told myself that everything in college life will be a learning curve. The good, the bad, everything will teach me lesson that will only make me better.
So, there I was in front of that huge gate, the NALSAR logo staring right at me, amidst the greenery that Shamirpet has to offer. It was 29th June at around 11 am, I had reached this gigantic campus spread across 55 acres sprawling with numerous buildings, trees and flowers. It was overwhelming and nerve racking for me. I remember telling my dad – “If I have to spend five years somewhere, this seems about right.” That was my first day at this place, and a lot has ensued since then. Now, as I write, I am year older. I have been at this place for two semesters now, and time has flown past us. First year at NALSAR has taught me several things already. It has always been a case of expectation meets reality. There is this image all of us have in our minds about our college, naturally I had too. Has NALSAR been everything what I expected? No, of course not, it is way different but that has not always been bad. And this is what adulting feels like, I think, accepting reality over expectations and being okay with it. Learning how to adjust and find your own way through is an aspect of being an adult that I have learnt at NALSAR.
I remember in the first class of my NALSAR life, our Legal Methods teacher asked everyone – “Why law school?” I heard several answers ranging from wanting to be a politician to an animal rights activist. When it was my turn to answer, I told that I chose law school simply because I wanted to be more aware and politically conscious and a law school like NALSAR is a great place for that. I have tried to keep this my motive since the beginning. Talking about the beginning, it seems like one is caught in the midst of a desert storm. We had so many orientations and meetings with this forum and that committee in the first month that I felt very lost. You feel like doing everything but realise it is not possible, at least this was the case with me. I talked to one of my seniors regarding this and she advised me to just let things flow in the first month, be everywhere you can, you need not make immediate decisions. I stuck to this advice and took one day at time. This advice has helped me quite a lot. Taking one step at a time is what has helped me navigate one year of law school.
There are two other things that helped me steer through NALSAR. The friends I made here and the seniors I interacted with. NALSAR can be depressing at times for various reasons and at these times of dire need you need a support system. For me, it has been the friends I have made here. I could not have imagined to have made such good friendships and I think it has been my biggest achievement since I have come to NALSAR. You will make some friends right from the beginning and some a bit late. For me, I have been lucky to have made great friends from the beginning and a bit late as well. The time I have spent, the fun we have had, the things we have done, the places we have gone to, all these are the things that will always remain with me. At NALSAR, you will always find someone to be your true friend, you just need to give it some time. The other group of people who are always there for you are your seniors. I have been really lucky to have had some great seniors to guide and help me whenever I needed. There is this amazing thing in NALSAR where the first years and the fifth years always share a special connection between them. We have been no exception to that. Whenever in doubt, regarding academics, moots or simply places to eat, my fifth years were always my go-to people. The bond is so special that it continues beyond those five years of law school as well.
Moving to the fun part of being in NALSAR, my first year has mostly been a lot of fun. From ice-breakers to Freshers to Awadh Magadh to Carpe Diem and several other events, all of which have been the highlight of my first year. It has been a lot of partying and dancing and simply enjoying myself in these moments which remain edged in my memory. From performing those odd-dances during ice-breakers to asking out a senior as your freshers’ date, it has been a totally unique set of challenges which I never thought I would have to face. NALSAR puts you in situations in which you have to step out from your comfort zones and do what you would not normally do. Only to realise you are capable of so many things that you never thought you would be. Probably this is my favourite aspect of NALSAR. You get lost only to find your true self.
There is this unique learning experience that I have gone through over the last year, most of which has happened outside the classroom. The conversations I have had with my friends during our late-night walks on flag road or in the mess which has brought about a holistic learning experience. Also, here I want to mention the Gender Sexuality Forum and the Love and Sex Discussion that we have had on campus which has been such an excellent learning opportunity about topics and issues which we all as adults face but never get the opportunity or platform to talk about. Another slow growing trend on campus which I really like is having discussions about mental health, while this has not taken a formal structure yet, the fact that it is coming up is excellent. I think discussions like these fulfils my true purpose of coming to a law school like NALSAR. Improving my awareness and widening my horizons is what I came to NALSAR for and it is certainly doing a good job about it.
Overall, it has been a really good first year for me. I have been able to keep my head above water and make my place here. We call NALSAR – Home away from home. It has been some sort of a home at least. Finally, I think, the key to doing good here despite the regular ups and down is not getting overwhelmed by the place. Indeed, there is lot of competition and the pressure to perform better than the others always loom large over your head, but just try to stay calm. I have tried to follow this advice and been pretty happy here. Hoping to see you soon at NALSAR.
This is Ankush Rai, a to-be second year of NALSAR, signing off. Cheers!
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