If I were to be really candid, HNLU wasn’t my dream destination when I started preparing for CLAT in 12th standard. Just like everyone else, even I aimed to get into top 3 law schools in the country. Unfortunately, my first shot at CLAT wasn’t great and I secured a rank of 618. I was not very happy with my result but then again it wasn’t that bad, so I pondered over taking a drop but decided otherwise and it turned out to be the best decision of my life.
As I packed my bags to leave for Raipur, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t tense, having lived in Trivandrum my entire life, I was apprehensive about leaving my comfort zone. Post the admission formalities, I made friends with a number of very smart, open minded and sociable people who made me feel at home even though I couldn’t speak a word of Hindi and it laid my apprehensions to rest. I have mixed feelings about HNLU, having had my share of good and bad days there but looking back I’m happy to have studied there because it taught me a lot of things which I wouldn’t otherwise have learned in addition to the few but very close friends I made there from different parts of the country.
I had decided to retake CLAT even before I went to HNLU, so I think it had more to do with me than the college itself. Also, if anything, my batchmates have been instrumental in my CLAT success, they shared valuable CLAT inputs, quizzed me, procured material and even taught me for college tests when I hadn’t studied anything, helping me pass. If I had an option to do it all over again, I’d happily do it.
One thing that definitely bothered me about HNLU, and I’d love to see a change in the same is that the first year students must be given genuine moot court exercises, to suggest the least. Though I was much occupied with the CLAT preparations, which limited my exposure to the college mechanism.
It was difficult for me to handle the disillusionment after CLAT 2016 but I’m happy I chose HNLU over a drop. So the best thing about HNLU is the amount of time you get to work on yourself, we had classes from Monday to Friday till 2:30 and we were more or less free then onwards. So I played football every now and then, partied after tests, went for walks at night and did a lot of other interesting stuff to keep myself occupied and happy but I never let any of that affect my CLAT preparation, for which I studied consistently barring a few exceptions like exams and Colossus (our fest) as I was fairly serious about it.
I studied right before exams (thankfully passed everything with decent grades), thereby giving me more time to polish my CLAT prep. I didn’t follow a timetable as such because my prep was more oriented towards mocks and improving my weak areas so there were days when I’d study as little as reading a few lines of current affairs and there were days when I’d spend a whole day in the library with my laptop, ploughing through GK or taking mock tests. So if you plan to take CLAT, stay consistent and stop quantifying prep in terms of time spent but instead the amount of work done.
Taking mock tests and their analysis helped me work on my shortcomings. I couldn’t keep my cool during CLAT 2016 and it was something I decided to work on very early on. So I looked to various resources to get a mix of hard, moderate and easy mocks, developing strategies to face each type in the most efficient way. I sacrificed my internship during the semester break with the hopes of making it to a better college.
I cannot emphasise more on the importance of support from friends when you’re preparing for a competitive paper. You need that constant motivation and support. When you’re down and out, that support makes a lot of difference in your approach towards the coming challenges. I’m sure all my friends especially Suyash, Shubham and Parvathy who contributed in their own ways would have been the happiest after getting to know about this little success.
Damaged pride after CLAT 2016 coupled with a dream to finally go to NLS, I found motivation in everything, like my desktop wallpaper featuring NLSIU’s Library which kept me going. My family, especially my mother was very supportive.
Coaching for CLAT can only do so much and can only get you so far, especially considering the huge number of students enrolling for coaching which makes it hard to cater to each student’s requirements. Also, since CLAT has no proper syllabus, I think every aspirant should go through the past year papers to understand how questions are asked and prepare accordingly. Rely on mock tests to tell you what you need to work on and don’t be demotivated by low mock scores at the start because we all have to start somewhere.
I’m working on setting up a Coaching Center with some of my friends from NLS to equip aspirants with the right set of skills and study hacks to get to NLS. I’m currently inclined towards litigation, which could change after I learn more about the discipline at the best law school in the country, I’m as excited as I can be.
We’d like to thank Matthew Abraham(AIR 40, CLAT-2017) for taking out time from his busy schedule and sharing his experiences.
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