Sometimes, in life you’re left alone to make decisions; a decision which could make you or break you. Similar was my situation a year back. An Eighteen-year-old freshman to Hidayatullah National Law University, with high hopes and expectations from life, had a tough choice to make. Some called me over passionate, others irrational, but I had only one question in mind, “Should I compromise with my dreams?”
All these years, I had only one dream; the dream of studying in the country’s best law school. Everyone around me praised me for clearing HNLU in my first attempt. In my initial days of the college, I even tried to make myself content with what I got, but it seems life had something else planned for me. I started thinking about reattempting CLAT in 2017. When I raised this question in front of my family and friends, I faced with a plethora of reactions, some appreciative and some not. Regardless, I decided it was something I had to do and haven’t regretted since then.
Trying to find the perfect balance between academics and CLAT preparations can be challenging, but it’s something you have to figure out over time. Academics take the back seat obviously, but smart studies can help you perform well in both fields. Pitfalls are unavoidable during the journey. There are moments when you’re neither able to cope up with academics nor feel that your prep is going to be enough. You’ll lag behind your own batch mates due to the constraints of time present. However, these momentary lapses are something that have to be dealt with in chase of a bigger prize.
On the other hand, already being in a law college also has numerous perks in the preparation of CLAT. You are regularly subjected to discussions on topics that may help you in the larger scheme of things for your preparations. Subjects which are taught are closely related to the questions you face during the examination and most of all you tend to shed all your apprehensions about law school or law in general. The benefit of experience that you accrue is paramount and outweighs any disadvantage that you may have; it’ll be a rocky road ahead but if you have the luxury to take this chance, my suggestion would always be affirmative.
For me, the decision was made back in October. I allocated time according to the college schedule and gave preparations as much time as I could; often at the expense of academics. The preparation became more rigorous on holidays and internship breaks. Much like anyone else would tell you, first and the foremost part of your preparation would be to take as many mocks as possible. Following the trend, I got enrolled in distance programs from both Career Launcher and CLAT Possible. Along with mocks, past year papers are your holy grail during preparations, especially for the legal and general knowledge sections. With time I realized that a thorough reading of all papers, including all pre-CLAT NLS papers is very important for legal aptitude as most of the legal reasoning questions are taken from there.
I tried to subject myself to as much variety as possible, especially with the GK section. This variety goes a long way in ensuring that one doesn’t get flustered with the unpredictable difficulty level of CLAT. Over time, it helped me analyse my weaknesses and work on the same. These weaknesses kept haunting me for most of my preparation as I always scored lower on the same subjects in mock tests. However, the same was somewhat ameliorated over time through rigorous work.
As for the effects it had on my law school life, I had to make a lot of decisions unwillingly such as opting out of several events or not even being a part of the college fest. I could not explore everything that HNLU had to offer but there were certain events and people that did play a major role throughout the year. Much like any other institution, HNLU is not bereft of flaws and has its imperfections. However, my experience here was nothing but positive.
Throughout my preparation, I had an extra level of security as my future was not completely dependent on CLAT 2017 and I always had a very decent law school to fall back on. One realization that dawned upon me was that CLAT per se can’t be studied in the same way one studies for medical and engineering examinations; CLAT does not require studying 24×7, rather, it requires judicious study which concentrates on honing one’s weaknesses. Hence, I was somewhat able to manage college academics side by side and maintain a decent rank at HNLU. By the end, I had found a new passion in debating, met new people and made friends from all over the country, and increased my passion for the field of law. None of this would have been possible if I had given into instinct and dropped out last year. In my opinion, a complete drop should always be the last resort.
What motivates you for a purpose is always of foremost importance, for me, I was chasing exposure. The exposure that comes with studying in the best law school in the country. Obviously, there were roadblocks en route and I might not have ever overcome them had it not been for the constant support provided to me by friends and family. One huge advantage that I had was the competitive environment that was present in the college itself due to the presence of a few like-minded people preparing for the examination. This pushed me to work harder and perform better as each mock passed by. Regular discussions and sessions with them helped each share his strengths and better his weaknesses. A special shout out to Tanvi, Ayush, Anuraag, Prachi and Shrinkhala for their constant support all through the year and also Arnav for all his inputs as I tried to conquer my fear of general knowledge. The journey wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for you guys!
As to anyone who might be in a similar situation I was at this point, I would advise you to take whichever college you are getting and prepare for the reattempt alongside. CLAT is too unpredictable an examination to leave everything on and the experiences that you gather in a year will only help you to grow as an individual and a law aspirant. Keep your spirits high and do not let anyone else decide the ceiling of your ambitions!
Although I may not have been able to accomplish my dream of getting into the best law college in the country, I am fortunate enough to come close. But then again, there’s always a possibility of not getting what one dreams of.
We’d like to thank Yash Mittal(AIR 73, CLAT-2017) for taking out time from his busy schedule and sharing his experiences. Yash has also Secured AIR 14, AILET 2017. CollegeSnoops Congratulates Yash and wishes in best for his future endeavours!
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