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Opinion: 10 things I ought to have done better at NLSIU Bangalore

An NLSIU Bangalore alum shares experiences and lessons learnt about ‘Law School’

Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah” (Protect dharma and it will protect you) – NLSIU Motto

I am writing this piece anonymously for my own reasons, but let me share some facts – I was an all India rank (very high) in the CLAT one of the years. I come from a geographically remote part of the country. After graduating, I held a job in one of the most ostensibly prestigious firms in the world. I am currently studying in one of the most ostensibly prestigious universities in the world. These are my labels and I am stating them upfront because this piece talks about my failures within the NLSIU ecosystem, and those failures are not academic or extra-curricular – I shone in both.

NLSIU has an astounding amount of intellect and in my experience, enough critique has been made of the administration and faculty that my piece will merely be a voice in the crowd. (Shoutout to all the people in the administration and faculty who made my life less difficult on campus). This listicle style article is about all the things I personally failed to do, that ought to have been done, and while these are lessons I learnt, I consider them valuable enough to share:

  1. I ought to have never bought into the ‘best law school’ rhetoric. There is no such thing. The indicators notwithstanding, one is as good as one wants to be, wherever one is. This is a plain fact, and more people need to know this, for to not know this is elitism. We are not “Law School”. We are one of many law schools.

  2. I ought to have had more awareness of my own position inside the school. I occupied privilege and backwardness. It was the NLS Diversity Survey 2015 that opened my eyes, and I encourage everyone to read it.

  3. I ought to have taken the time to smile at more people and talked to people outside my circles.

  4. I ought to have learnt that grades don’t mean anything beyond the meaning you attribute to them. Ultimately, a legal education truly far exceeds the value of the grades. I was in the upper middle of my class, but I have met far too many people now from diverse schools who have outshone me, started their own things, and are doing very well in life.

  5. I ought to have failed earlier. Failing in fifth year was cathartic and taught me not to take life too seriously.

  6. I ought to have learnt how to study more languages. Languages unlock the door to many worlds, and I had access to multiple ones on account of how many students come from so many parts of the world. I did pick up Hindi well, so there is that.

  7. I ought to have kept my lifestyle saner. I worked hard and pulled several late nights, and the burnout can be felt now at the ripe old age of twenty-something.

  8. I ought to have been easier on myself. Comparing myself to every single person walking by did nothing for my health or my life.

  9. I ought to have been more compassionate. I ought to have tried to understand that everyone was going through something, and that everyone is on their journey. I ought to have been kinder to everyone around me.

  10. I ought to have believed in the community and done everything I could to make the community a better place. Individualism does not help anyone. My current university taught me that knowledge expands with sharing, and competition ultimately will come back to haunt you.

These are my thoughts, and I know they sound simplistic, but complex problems often have simple solutions. I would, at the end, like to thank my friends and the faculty who took stances for me, and made my journey through several difficult experiences easier. Thank you.

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