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It's MY Life- Law school and beyond...

-Radhika Agarwal (NALSAR University of Law)

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”-Steve Jobs, Commencement Address, Stanford University (2005)

The CEO of Apple left behind a legacy and with it a powerful message to the people. The message was simple-do not let your life and your goals be defined by other people.

It’s true that we live in a society where we are made to conform to certain notions of success and happiness. A person with non-conventional beliefs is often seen as an “idealist”, or a “weirdo” or a fool who is yet to “see” the real world.

I have experienced this time and again in law school, when asked what I am planning to do after college and whether I am working towards that goal. (Read, “trying for placements” in place of “planning to do”, and “interning in well-known law firms” in place of “working towards that goal”.)

Just like merely getting into the top three law schools of the country is believed to be the ticket to a life of security and luxury, getting an internship/placement offer from the Magic Circle is seen as the pinnacle of success in any law student’s career. Such a person is glorified to the position of a demi-god and his life becomes an example for anyone who wants to “make it successfully” through law school.

 Not long ago, I was one of those people who searched on the internet for alumni who had won dozens of gold medals in their time, earned prestigious scholarships and made it through the Ivy League. I was going through their profiles for anything that would give me a hint as to their “recipe for success.” For me, these people were Perfection personified. They were the toppers of their batch, the ideal students whom everyone should look up to and learn from. The immaculate resumes were enough to earn my respect for the people whom I hadn’t even met! I was eager to be one of those ambitious ones who could boast of having secured a 7.83756/8 C.G.P.A. and held an unbeaten record of the highest number of gold medals.

It took three years of studying in the country’s top-ranked law school to change my orthodox perspective…

I realized that happiness and success are very subjective. While one may be considered a celebrity in his hometown for having made it to a national law school, deep inside that person may always regret that he missed getting a more reputed college by a mark! While one may be on cloud nine after having secured 19.5/20 in a test, his bubble might burst when he sees his friend scoring 19.75. As long as someone is “ahead”, no matter how trivial and insignificant the distance, people will be unhappy. It is futile then to make it a matter of life and death to win such a race, because no matter how fast one is, there will always be someone ahead. The first couple of years in law school have been a constant mental battle for me where I have had to choose between what is “expected” of me, and what I truly want to do.

The salvation from my dilemma happened the day I stopped worrying about how people perceived me. I started following my heart, and stopped asking myself “How will this help me in my law school career?” Instead, I wondered, “Will I learn something new if I try this?” That resulted in my engaging in more productive activities and having a mind of my own.

Doing things the unconventional way may not have earned me the respect of my peers, but for me, that doesn’t matter. Today, I can think for myself and am not dependent on anyone else to define how my life should be. It takes courage to pull away from a crowd that is trying so hard to crush your capacity to think for yourself, but in the end, “I took the road less travelled… and that has made all the difference”.

 “To build your own life’s meaning is not easy…but it’s still allowed…and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”-Bill Watterson, Creator of Calvin and Hobbes



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