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An estimated 5-minute read
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"If you can meet with Triumph & Disaster,

And treat those two impostors just the same..."

As 2014 draws to an end & my FB Timeline is flooded with nostalgic statuses from friends, I reflect on the highlights of my law school life in 2014. An experience which shall remain most memorable is my Rhodes dream & journey...

As I mentioned in my previous post, what motivated me to apply for the scholarship was my dream to exit college with a bang! & for somebody, who never cared enough for mooting, this was to be my moment of glory...I was exhilarated that I had been selected for the second round and I realized that I was one step closer to realizing my dream.

[The scholarship process for Rhodes is a 3-step process: interested candidates are invited to apply for the scholarship along with a Personal Statement (not exceeding 1000 words); shortlisted applicants are then called for a preliminary interview. From the preliminary interview, about 15-20 candidates are selected for the final interview round. The final interview is the last stage of the selection process wherein 5 people are finally awarded the scholarship].

I had three weeks to prepare & I was fortunate to receive help from all quarters: seniors, former Rhodes scholars, peers and teachers alike & I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for the preliminary interview.

I reached Delhi on the morning of 12th (the date when my interview was scheduled). I reached the venue an hour before my interview was to take place & although I hadn’t had breakfast, I was too nervous to remember that I was hungry!

I believe that it was an incredibly lucky day for me...my interview lasted about 20 minutes and I knew that it had gone well. I do not look forward to train journeys- I often end up tossing & turning in the train without getting any sleep…I remember having a peaceful sleep that night on the train back to Lucknow.

10 days later, I received an email informing me that I had been shortlisted for the final interview. I would be lying if I say that I was surprised- I was confident that I had done well in my preliminary interview.

My final interview was scheduled for 22nd November in Delhi. I had my last end semester examination on 20th November & I left for Delhi on 20th night.

My journey this time was not off to a very good start…I woke up to a stomach infection on 20th & I was dreading the train journey- I was afraid my condition might worsen on the train. Luckily for me, I reached Delhi safely. My woes, however, were not to end just yet. I took the metro to my cousin’s place & it turned out to be a scary experience (something I joke about now.  J)

I was 3 metro stations away from my destination, when I started feeling weak all of a sudden & I realized that I was going to faint inside the metro! Fortunately, my brother was accompanying me to Delhi & I felt much better once I got a seat to sit.

Between this and the Rhodes dinner, nothing eventful happened that day. The Rhodes dinner is a traditional dinner hosted for the interviewees and the panellists and it serves as an ice-breaker for the finalists, who are understandably nervous before the interview. The dinner was a grand affair & very soon, we were put at ease by the friendly demeanour of the panellists. As I retired for the night, I looked forward to what the next day would bring.

22nd was a day I had been waiting for impatiently ever since I had applied for the scholarship. It was a day I had always envisioned and played in my mind…a day when I would finally get my moment of glory…

For a very long time after my final interview, I tried not to recall 22nd. I am not one to believe in luck or destiny, but I maintain that 22nd was just not my day. A few minutes into the interview, I knew that the interview wasn’t going well at all and I knew that I would not make it.

I remember being extremely disheartened and this surprised me…I was surprised at myself because I believed myself to be the kind of person who never treated anything as the be-all and end-all of life. But, for those few hours after the interview, I felt majorly crushed as I realized that I had lost my “moment of glory”…

I don’t lose heart easily… I think that there is too much in life to look forward to, to be disappointed with anything for long. I admit that I felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment and I think it was because I had started treating the scholarship as larger than life & I was certain that I would win it. I wasn’t over-confident, I just had an inexplicable feeling that the jinx would be broken this time & somebody from my college would win it (I was the 3rd person from my college to be shortlisted for the final round). Perhaps the feeling of winning the scholarship could be likened to the high that one would experience when winning a moot.

The entire journey, however, was memorable and I learnt a lot from the experience. I remind myself not to get too disheartened by failure. In law school, we often complain that life is too monotonous and how there is nothing exciting to do; the Rhodes scholarship gave me something to look forward to this semester and an experience to cherish for a lifetime.

As I welcome 2015, I look forward to the new experiences that the year would bring and I feel ready to treat the two impostors just the same!

P.S.: It is impossible to list all the names here, but I would like to thank everybody who helped me right from reviewing my personal statement to giving me tips for the interview. Thank you all for being a part of my Rhodes dream.

[My previous entry (written anonymously):   http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/my-rhodes-dream-journey-from-a-tier-2-law-school]

[Note from LI: Really really sorry - this post had somehow completely slipped by over the holidays and didn't get moderated for 2 months. I'm so very very sorry, and hope that despite it having been posted late, it is still as important and fresh as ever! All the best! Kian]

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