Dear Batch of 2027
This letter has been written by Aastha Malipatil, Jitya Singh, Krishnapriya Nair, Sarthak Virdi and Varsha Ramesh. The illustration is by Nidhi Agrawal (Batch of 2026)
Dear Batch of 2027,
Congrats! You’ve finally made it to NLS! We’re sure that the months leading up to now have been stressful, to say the least. Well, now is when the real stress starts so brace yourselves :p
The Law School experience can be enriching, confusing, inspiring and overwhelming, all at once. You’ll meet people and make memories that will last a lifetime (cliché, but true) and namma (our) nagarbhavi will become your home. By now, your first week of Law School must have given you a taste of the ‘academic rigour’ that will become a part of your daily life. You must have also met your very enthu second-years, who have given you more gyaan than you can handle. This piece will be just that; we’ll chronicle everything ranging from academics (yes, Eco 1 and Eco 2 will really make you question your life choices) to Law School events to discovering and navigating your identities while in Law School. We hope we can pass whatever gyaan we have gained over the past year to you, hoping that you’ll someday pass it onto your kids <3
Let us now turn our attention towards and try to make sense of the infamous ‘academic rigour’ that you might have heard about several times. Firstly, it translates into your struggle between attending classes trying to fulfil that 75% attendance mandate in each course, making novice projects and swimming through the sea that is our reading material. Ranging from projects to exams and including everything in between, you might find yourself exhausted in the process. One of the few pain alleviators in this process might be the thought of ‘scam courses’ that are not so harsh, but we would say be wary of them too. Too many Professors coming and going, too many opinions floating around! Apart from the reading material that you'll have to peruse before class, you also have projects for which you will have very strict deadlines. In some courses, it is expected of you to research thoroughly and make an ‘original’ project & oh! No plagiarism is allowed here :)
You might not realise the proximity of your end-term exams with the fast-flying and short-lived trimester but once you are done with your exams, discussions about the above-mentioned strict deadline might ensue. Sadly, you will come to realise the university is not as strict with deadlines when it comes to the release of end-term results. Rather there are no deadlines as such. Chances are you move on to the second year but you still can't move on from your end-term result because you will be waiting on your revaluation results for the first trimester. But alas, that's how things work here.
Having told you all this we would ask you to try not to be overwhelmed by it. All of the academic rigour might scare you at first and fuel your impostor syndrome but you will (hopefully) get used to it after a certain point of time. This time however might vary for different people. So if you see someone else having adapted to it quite quickly and you have not, know that all of you are different and that it's alright to be. Don't let that discourage you and learn at your own pace. You will come to realise that not everybody wants the same thing from law school. Try to find and focus on what you would like to do, be that academics, ADR or music, etc. However, we realise that as easy as it is to give this advice, everyone has to figure out their own way of approaching things. Looking back, you will find that you’ve learnt and grown a lot as a result of the process.
We don’t think this letter will be complete without reference to the ‘social life’ at Law School. Everything is so hyped up, with us watching NYP invites on YouTube, hearing stories about chetta and bistro only to come here and find that all of this is history. Between classes, committees and hard deadlines, you’ll probably think this is how life at nls is going to be (please try and submit your projects within the deadline at least for the first year). Well, you’re not entirely wrong. But, NLS does have some social life to offer (don’t forget to pester your rank family for treats – speaking from experience).
A lucky few amongst you will have already felt the pressure of 'networking' and engaging with every living being you can find on campus (*drum rolls* SNHP aspirants). You might be intimidated by those of your peers who’ve managed to scale this ladder and it might seem like you’ve missed the social train.
But NLS is not ‘3 Idiots’ and you don’t have to run fast in order to escape being a ‘broken anda’ (remember, broken andas make great omelettes). It’s okay to be in your room on a Saturday night when you see Instagram stories of your batchmates crowding Church Street. It’s okay to not feel included, it’s okay to feel lonely. Trust us, all of us have been there. Make yourself some chai, put on your favourite songs, turn on your gloomy fairy lights and remember this: first, you’re not missing out on something incredible (they’ll just come hungover to Somu’s class next Monday morning). Secondly, make that call you’ve been promising you’ll make back home. Thirdly, try at things: knock on a senior’s door, talk to the Cool He-Will-Never-Be-Friends-With-Someone-Like-Me person, and finally use that lonely induction and make yourself some Maggi. If you can be lonely, it can be too :/ (for some devious satisfaction, know that the 10 people bestiesforever group may probably not be together at the end of 5 years - and that's okay too).
This brings us to the next thing. Help. We all need it – academics and otherwise. DO NOT be ashamed or scared to admit that you don’t know what IRAC is and what colour the flag of Croatia is (these MUN kids, I tell you). To appeal to all you Potterheads here (is that even a thing anymore?), help will always be available at NLS for those who ask for it. Why do you think we have rank families, project guides and SBA mentors?
This is also probably the right time to tell you that seniors are not gods. Interaction with them is not the pinnacle of social life at NLS. We are just as clueless as you are, and we change our pieces of advice for every new batch that comes out. Remember, NOBODY can force you into doing things you are not comfortable doing – be it eating something, smoking, drinking or even talking. You have all the right to walk out of a social situation even if your reason is “I just didn’t feel like it” (law school vibes much?)
Now coming to those of you who have thrived at interactions, our advice to you is this – people are more than labels. Everyone who comes to NLS is from jarringly different backgrounds and has had different experiences. See people for who they really are, and not as conveners and moot legends. Along with this, please remember to put your privilege to good use. Know when to pass the mic. Know when it's not your turn to speak. Sometimes, all you would have to do is listen. That is a job you must learn to do well - the quicker the better.
Lastly, as you navigate Law School, you will grow aware of the ways your identity affects everyday life. NLS being the space that it is, will offer you freedom and the tools to make sense of it. Soon enough, you'll learn to own these parts of yourself. If you find yourself confused, remember that a lot of your seniors have been where you are and would be glad to listen to you. What seems like a weight right now; you will learn to get comfortable with it. You've made it here; make the best use of the safety this place has to offer.
We can give you all the advice in the world, but in the end, you're Cinderella and you get to choose which shoe fits. However, there is one thing we can tell you for when you book an ola or an uber from that fancy restaurant at 11 pm – NLS only exists for each of us inside this bubble. For outsiders, it’s the good old Nagarbhavi Laa Kaalej.
Your second years who're still processing the fact that they're second years :)