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Congratulations. You have gotten through to a law school. It may or may not be the one that you aimed for but the good news is, in the long run, it doesn't matter. 

Now, a lot of you will be starting college from Monday. A few of you might have already started. So I am going to tell you a few things that you may want to do in the first week or month. This is based on experience but is still very subjective. Use your common sense and use all tips accordingly. 

1. Do not decide what do to after law school before you even know all your subjects. 

A lot of students make this mistake. They come into law school and have already decided that they want to just get a "corporate job" without even knowing what all it entails. Or some might have decided to work in the field of "human rights" without knowing in detail what our fundamental rights are. So the point is, DO NOT decide on what you want to do after five really long years in law school because law school will change your perception about everything. It will make you more logical and show you how the same problem can be analyzed and solved differently by different people. So, leave all your pre-conceived notions behind and just go with an open mind. You have minimum 2 years before which you need to start deciding on what area you need to work in. Be curious about everything. Learn new things. Meet new people. Challenge yourself. 

2. Talk to everyone.

What is the point of going to a place which has people from varied backgrounds if you are only going to talk to people whom you already know or who are from your city/state? Experience new cultures. Learn new things about them. Try to include good things from all cultures into your actions. Don't avoid anyone. Talking to someone new everyday will not only make five years seem short but will also make your life interesting. You never know which conversation might help you in the future. Also, it will make you more friendly and that is one thing that always helps. In the future, it will help you understand people better and will also give you an advantage when you have to work with people from different cultures. Plus, making new friends is always healthy. :) 

3. Acclimatize to the new culture

Cultural shocks are not rare in law school. If you are coming from a small town to a metro or from a metro to a small town then you are bound to find a LOT of cultural differences. India is a diverse country and each part is very different from the other. I have seen people being scandalized when they saw girls smoking or when they saw PDA or when they found out that doing something was not considered to be 'normal' in that part of the city. The number of new things that you will find are endless. It is for you to adapt to those situations. Its not your home. Its a college. The city is different. The people are different. The mindsets of people around you are different. Well, suck it up. That's how the world works. You have to adapt to the world because the opposite is not going to happen. The faster you get used to the place and the people, the better it will be for you to settle down and concentrate on the more important things. 

4. Learn. Learn. Learn. 

If at first you are not sure about something, watch someone else do it. Learn. Do not be shy of asking questions. Be inquisitive. First year students are well known for being over curious but I think it is better to be over curious than to be ill-informed in the future. The more information you get in the first few days, the better it will be for the rest of the college life. Just make sure about one thing. Do not bug seniors who don't like a lot of questions. Spread your questions among different people and never ask the same question twice. I am sure you will find a lot of helpful seniors in any college you go. Find them. Respect them for what they know. Do not irritate them. Learn something new every day/week. Get out of your comfort zone. You will have a lot of choices in life. Choose wisely. All choices have consequences. I repeat, choose wisely.  

5. Intern at a good NGO.

In your first vacation, do not go running to a law firm or to a lawyer, even if that's what you have pre-decided. In your first semester, you would have learned nothing which can be of any use to a law firm. Just getting their name on your CV is not important. It serves no purpose. NGOs are great because they will add value to your CV and also teach you a lot of things. Plus, its a lot of fun if you find the right NGO so its a win-win. Now, just because this is your first internship and you are still an infant in the legal world doesn't mean you take it lightly. Work diligently. Be on time. Do everything you are asked to do and more. In your free time, observe what others in the organisation are doing. Learn from them. Help them. Bounce your ideas with them. See if you can contribute in some way even after the internship ends. All this will help you get a feel of what all should be done in an ideal internship. There is no better way to learn than to practice. 

This is just a heads up on what you might want to do. Rest is on you. 

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments sections. I will be happy to answer them. 

Good luck. 

May the force be with you! 

Tagged in: first year law school
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