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  • Quirk NLS

(A)Typical Day in the Life of a First-Year NLS Student

This piece has been written by Aastha Malipatil (B.A. LL.B. Batch of 2026). The illustration is by Krishna Natesan (B.A. LL.B. Batch of 2025).

Just when most of us think getting 7-8 hours of sleep is a part of our daily routine until grade 12, joining NLS (or law schools in general) can be like a punch in the gut when it comes to sleep schedules. After trading off doing a reading with hitting the bed at least by 1 am, the morning that was intended to start at 7 a.m. ends up starting (barely) at 8:30, accompanied by 12 alarm snoozes (per person that is, and in a room of three). For those of us who have morning classes, getting ready, having breakfast, chasing the bell to see ‘aa dekhke zara, kisme kitna hai dum’[1] and finally somehow making it to class on time (almost) feels nothing less than having a super-power. But then you look around yourself, see everyone rushing with a slice of bread and jam (that was applied in 3 seconds) in hand, and realize that what you have been considering a superpower is basically a personality trait, ingrained in seniors around you. So much for academic rigour.

If you’re lucky as a first year, the AAD is generous enough to keep economics as your first period. This way, you know that the class starts at 9 a.m., giving you 10 extra minutes to maybe have that breakfast you were sure to skip. You then rush to Krishnappa Hall and finally settle down next to your friends. The hour passes by with you understanding bits and pieces of the class, trying to make sense of all those upward and downward sloping graphs and staring at that clock on the wall, hoping it would somehow run faster. In between, you decide to take a look around and realize that every class is so diverse yet so similar at the same time.

There are those who listen diligently to every word the professor says and who we basically worship during exam prep because they have been kind enough to grace us with their notes and peer sessions. There are folks (sorry, got too much into econ lingo) who’re trying their best to listen and see whatever they can from that white board that almost never seems to have a working marker pen. Beside them are those equally confused, going “What did he say? Why did he add them? What is this called?” at least once every minute. I was one of them. Coming from a non-humanities/economics background surely makes you question the point of life when it comes to econ classes. There are then those who woke up 5 minutes before the lecture, grabbed a coffee and are now barely trying to survive the lecture. These people are smart no doubt, but they prefer doing things according to a different schedule. So you’ll see kids who’ve stayed up all night revising/studying and have now decided to just take a nap from 9 am to 11 am. There are also people who are currently clueless but will end up learning the entirety of Pindyck 2 days before the exam.

No matter where everyone stands in the class academically, at the end of the day, you know you’ll be sitting in the mess finding solace in the fact that almost everyone really is in the same boat when it comes to their dislike for the subject. Everyone is almost similar in the way they check their phones in between, swipe through a few stories, peep into each other’s laptops and try to read that Quora article the person in front of you is so into.

The bell finally rings and now you have 20 minutes again to shift classes and go to the new acad block.[2] For those of us who’ve won the 20-minute race with the first bell, this break seems like forever, making us ambitious enough to go to Ashu (now that it is within campus, the entire trip to the one outside is saved) and grab a cup of coffee/tea. Then you realize it’s almost time and you have no other option but to now race your professor to class. What’s funny is that this isn’t even a ‘once-in-a-while’ thing, this is just your daily routine, so ingrained that you forget you’re constantly running until you call up an old friend who’s now in medical school and they say “Man, law school can be hectic, catch your breath please.” (Imagine a med student saying that). Maybe this is your reminder to take a breath. You’ll have to run to a meeting in 5 anyway, might as well pause for a while, no?

You somehow get through the next two hours, hoping there’s something nice in the mess (though you have the menu already, what’s wrong in wishing for that silver lining?). You then probably convince yourself that its not that bad, maybe it could help if you fancy-fy your food. This is quite simple actually - take everything the mess serves you and describe it in a way you would imagine a 5-star Michelin chef would, in order to charge you Rs. 600 for something like a vada pav :). Then come afternoon classes. You feel so sleepy that even the professor catches half the class dozing off. Some of us handle it by sleeping with our eyes open, playing games ranging from Minecraft to Wordle, watching that TV show on mute or getting some coffee before class. Though this comes with a caveat, of course, coffee works most of the time. If your professor is kind enough to allow the usage of laptops for making notes, a constant melody of unequal typing speeds as people press their keyboards furiously and try to make sense of this new world of law is heard. It is amazing how sleep inducing even this furious typing can be.

The evenings are to hang out with your friends at Bistro or Ashu and, if you have project research pending (which is almost always), then trying to convince yourself to not procrastinate and go to the NAB, because renovating the library or whatever is left of it, is a distant dream. (This works only some of the time.) Finally when you’re going over whatever happened during the day and gossiping with your roommates, there’ll be a message on the batch group saying it’s a classmate’s birthday with an invitation to Bistro at 12 a.m. If you were trying to convince yourself to sleep at 11 (though it would eventually end up at 12 because of mindless scrolling through reels), that hope is done and dusted. Birthday celebrations are fun, but you don’t realize that time flies. While you’re talking about how good the cake is, you’ll suddenly overhear someone saying we are supposed to read a case for the next class, which of course, you forgot. So, by the time you complete everything, it's 2 a.m. and you finally decide to hit the bed.

This might not be the case for everyone and this is not a standard day either. Some days might be great, and then you might have those where you don’t get into a committee you wanted to, or you find out your crush has a partner, or maybe your viva didn’t go well. I’m not equating any of these experiences, but when you’ve had a bad day, sometimes the only people who keep you going are your friends. Its easier for your law school friends to understand the rigour than those outside law school, because they’re a part of it. They make you realize that though it seems like you’re on barren land and you feel like SRK in ‘jag soona soona lage,’[3] it can still be turned fertile with a little bit of self-love, trust and not being too hard on yourself. It’s not the end of the world.

With 5 hours of sleep, you’re back to racing the bell, maybe this time with ‘tu hai aag Milkha, ab tu bhaag Milkha.’[4]


[1] The author is referring to a Hindi song, and the line translates to ‘let's see who’s got more strength’.

[2] This article was written when there was a single faculty for economics and thus shifting from the OAB to NAB was very common.

[3] This is a reference to Shah Rukh Khan’s iconic song in the movie Om Shanti Om, translating into ‘the entire world feels lonely and alone’.

[4] This is a reference to the song in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on Milkha Singh, translating into ‘you’re fire Milkha, you can now run.’

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