This article is written by Amandeep Kaur, a student of Symbiosis Law School, Pune. The author in this article has discussed in detail about the social life of a law student.
The college hours of a student includes classes and combined lectures during which he communicates with many batchmates about the subjects taught, faculty members teaching them and the upcoming events in the college. This communication is not always related to the academics but also includes chit-chat among the students, discussions about their after-college or weekend plans.
Students usually make friends from their batch and more specifically from their own division but they prefer making friends those students who were from their school or with whom they studied together in school or coaching classes over the one whom they don’t know at all or are new to them. National Law Universities and International Colleges witnesses students from different parts of the country. In such a situation students prefer being close to those who are from their own city or state.
Language and cultural differences are quite common for a student studying in NLU or any International college, for instance, Symbiosis Law School has students from all over India and therefore English is the common tongue used by the faculty members for teaching in college. Students will always try to be friends with those who speak their own language and share a common culture, for instance, one will always find different groups in his college such as from south India named as ‘Mallu’, ‘Delhites’, ‘Bengalis’, etc.
Once it was a combined lecture and we were having a fun activity. The activity was that every group has to represent a different country. My group was representing North and South Korea and there were different groups representing India, Pakistan, Mexico, China etc. During that activity, I came across various facts which I wasn’t aware at all, for instance, the concept of whitewashing in Korea because of which one will not come across any brown face, the frequency of drugs in Mexico and the concept of employment in the Apple company in China. Apple has its biggest manufacturing unit in China, it is because of the wages of employers which they hire there. The employers cannot even pay their rent with the salary paid to them by the Apple company and therefore commit suicides.
A student experiences different types of faculty members. Some of them are liked by the students and some aren’t. The reason being their teaching method or their connection with students. Some faculty members are quite friendly and their way of teaching is also unique, for instance, one faculty from my own college organize treks and usually, his lectures are based on something which is not available in the books. Majority of the students love his way of teaching because that is actually a unique way and students are never bored by his lecture unlike most of the faculty members in the college.
On the other hand, some faculty members are strict and don’t maintain any connection with students. Even the teaching method of some faculty members includes teaching from the textbooks which is quite boring because even a layman can go and read the book but what differentiates a faculty member is if he teaches through power points and shows related videos and clips during the class hours. This way a student gains quite more than what he expected and can retain it for a longer time.
This is the time which is usually fixed by the students for a get together before going back to their place as some of them are staying far away and some of them are staying in the hostel. They meet at a pre-decided place which is fixed by all of them and college canteen is the most common among them.
College canteens have thousands of stories hidden in it. The plans made by the students, college gossips, upcoming internals, frustration because of internal assignments and chit-chat related to any other topic, all this happens in the canteen. Moreover, canteen is also a major reason behind not attending lectures. There are some faculty members who actually take lectures in the canteen for intellectual discussions as according to them that the atmosphere in the canteen provides them with wide views and diverse and miscellaneous topics.
Students also discuss groups in different divisions of their batch and students from different divisions. They talk about the competitions, moots, debates in which one is participating, or the winners, their ranks, etc. Discussions about the different methods of studying, who has finished how much, source of studying etc. is quite regular. Some students change their method of studying because they see the method adopted by their batchmate is more practical and functional.
Then there is one more category of students popularly called the nerds. These students have their own plans of studying in the reading hall, spending time in the library, finishing their internal assignments, reading books, newspapers, etc. Then there are students who don’t care about anything but just go to their place and sleep after college is over. It doesn’t mean they don’t have friends but have different priorities and usually talk to their friends on WhatsApp group or during college hours.
Every student in every college waits for the weekend. This is because each and every student or friend circle have their own plans for the weekend. The weekend plan of a student depends upon the interest and priorities of a student. Some of them have a party or clubbing plans and go for a party with their party friends. Such parties usually consist of students from different colleges and sometimes they end up being friends with them which leads to an increase in their friend circle.
Then there are students who plan a movie night with their friends or a stay over their friend’s place which includes chit-chat, playing cards, games etc. Some of them plan to go out for dinner especially those who are tired up of eating the mess food. These students have a day fixed to go out for dinner but they usually don’t have a fixed number of people. Sometimes they end up going out with a group of 8-9 while sometimes they go out in pair of two.
EVERYONE, YOU WILL EVER MEET KNOWS SOMETHING YOU DON’T
Talking about going out with a group of students, one will always gain a lot of learning experience from that. Once I went out with seniors and some of my batchmates, we randomly started talking about the client counselling and mooting. The discussion involved numerous points which I hardly knew and I was amazed when I knew some points which others didn’t. For instance, I learned that while researching in manupatra if we add inverted commas then the search results will include exactly what we searched for, i.e. if I search “ban on alcohol” the search results will include the same sentence. Most of the seniors were not aware of the non-disclosure agreement of being an implied agreement i.e. even if the client does not sign it even then it is an obligation on the counsel to not to disclose the information given by him. It is true what they say “when one teaches two learn”.
Weekends are not always about parties or going for every student as some of them utilise it to finish their pending assignments and make notes for the finals. While there are some students who like to spend time watching some tv series or a movie on Netflix or on Amazon. Not every weekend is fun for all the students because sometimes students have submissions on Monday or a written test which they end up preparing during the weekend.
A law student is exposed to a variety of competitions such as moots, parliamentary debates, ADRs’, conferences, paper presentation, cultural fests, sports fests and dance fests. When they go out for such competitions they are exposed to students from different colleges who are their competitors including the host college, new place, new region etc. This gives them an opportunity for making contacts, exploring, experiencing, etc.
Moot and Debate Competitions
Moot competitions require teamwork because of which most of the time all of them have to sit together and work. Different methods are adopted by different students, some prefer working in a group while some prefer working individually. As the formation of the team is based upon the college, therefore, most of the time students meet new individuals some of which are seniors, juniors and sometimes their own batchmate. This helps the students in increasing their contacts in their own college.
Going for a debate or paper presentation in NLUs will always give some learning experience. A student acquires knowledge about the working of the host college, their organization skills etc. For instance, I went for a client counselling competition in one of the high ranked NLUs and I was shocked to see the mismanagement there, the competition was so unorganized and particularly hospitality of that college was worst.
Winning is one thing but one cannot always win, therefore, one needs to learn from losing that competition. A student should note down the points because of which he lost, he should also look into the winning team i.e. the reason behind their triumph. A student can always ask for the advice of the winning teams and can also ask for feedback on his performance which will help him to improve further. For instance, one of my friends went to a mooting competition and she won it and I also had a moot competition after 10 days. So I asked her how to prepare for a researchers test, she told me to be thorough with the facts of the situation and to have basic knowledge about the subject-matter involved i.e. if the subject-matter is constitution and international law then one should know about the dates when it came into effect, the extent of jurisdiction, the basic sections or articles (if any), makers of that particular subject, etc.
Cultural and Sports fests
Cultural and sports fests usually consist of a team of 20 or even more. This gives each and every student exposure to a huge group and of course an opportunity to learn. These teams practice after college hours and sometimes for the whole day which creates a kind of bond and affection among them. The team members also organize get-togethers and outings before and after the competition. These groups call themselves as a family and most of the time are found hanging out together.
Annual fest of College
Every college has its own annual fest which involves a large number of events related to both academic and extra co-curricular activities, for instance, the annual fest of SLS, Pune is called Symbhav which is also known as the biggest fest of Pune. The number and type of events vary from college to college. The preparation of such fests starts at least a month before the fest. Students join different committees involved in the organization of the fest and start working and communicating with students from different batches.
The fest helps the students in improving various skills such as leadership, organizing an event, socializing etc. Here the students have the opportunity of making contacts with students from different fields including law unlike during moots and debate competition. Annual fests are considered as a break from the regular college life. During this fest, one can experience the extra co-curricular skills in a law student. This is the time when students end up making the long-lasting bonds with their friends, seniors and batchmates.
A student can learn various skills by participating in such events and any committee. I myself was in the Marketing Committee during the annual fest of my college, one thing I learned there which I might not learn in the college i.e. Marketing, how to manipulate people, how to sell an event, how to involve people into a conversation even if they don’t want to, how to convince them for something for which they are least interested. I’m sure I mustn’t have learned that by cramming books and some notes. I also made contacts, started communicating with people with whom I never did. Participating in a fest is never a waste of time or its not just about fun but it’s about learning, acquiring some art.
It is the time when all the competitions, events and internals are over and the sem-ends are almost over the head. This is the time when all the students are on edge i.e., tensed and stressed. Also during this time most of the students avoid socializing and totally cut themselves off from social life and social media. Majority of the students open their books for the first time because of which they totally isolate themselves in order to focus and prepare for the externals.
The students who have prepared notes and have studied before too are the only ones who are not nervous at this time and also does not cut themselves off from society. These students continue their normal life. These students have an advantage over those who haven’t studied before.
I CAN’T, BUT WE CAN
There are students who prefer group studies because according to them it gives them motivation and a better understanding of each and every topic. Moreover, group studies don’t totally cut them off from their friends and social life. But for some of the students’ group studies doesn’t work at all and is a cause of distraction, therefore, they prefer studying individually in their room without keeping any contact with their friends except for the doubts and clarifications.
Initially, I used to study all alone any make notes of all the subjects by myself but after the college started the burden increased. There were more subjects and of course a lot more to learn in every subject. Then I and my roommate came out with a strategy of doing the most important topics first which has been repeated most of the times in the past year question papers. We also decided to start with different topics so that we can later exchange our notes if we are short of time. This was the best thing, as we eventually felt less burdened, less stressed and were able to cover all the important topics within 2 days.
Marks and percentage don’t matter to become a successful person. I myself have seen students not performing well in exams and later getting placed in the topmost firms just because they have good contacts, they are in touch with people and they know how to behave and communicate. Reading a newspaper alone will never lead to success. Socializing, contacting with seniors, faculty members is of vital importance.
End of the Semester
This is the time when the exams are over and students are free to execute their plans which they planned during the exam time and are ready to connect back to their social life. Every group has different plans. Some of them plan a trip with their friends such as going to some tourist place, for instance, Goa, Shimla, etc. Sometimes this trip also includes various uncommon friends such as a friend’s friend who end up becoming a common group by the end of the trip.
Clubbing and drinking are really common among law students. Students particularly go for drinking and clubbing after the sem-ends as it is a stress-buster for them. While some of them plan to explore the city before leaving for home. They make a group of three or four and explore all the tourist attractions, shopping markets, street food etc. Going for trekking is also among the popular plans which are opted by the students. They either go for trekking with their friends or with a properly trained coach which involves people from different fields and age groups.
Roads were made for Journeys, not Destinations
I myself haven’t gone on any such trip yet, because you know the popular goa meme. Though my seniors have gone on a trek with a group of students from other colleges. So they were telling me about it that they started competing with others and everyone made a group. The winning team was to get vouchers for imagica, so all of them started and a team from an engineering college won it. Seniors told me the reason for losing it i.e. the lack of coordination among them which was most important in order to win this competition. It was a learning experience for them.
Hanging out and chilling around is not the only way to socialize. One need to make potential use of that time. For instance, ask seniors about their internship i.e. where they are going to intern and where they advise you to intern, asking the seniors about the subjects one should go for, advantages and limitations of studying that subject etc. By this way, a student can make potential use of their free time by socializing.
In the end, every student has to go back home and for one batch it is always the last goodbye to the college and sometimes to their friends too. While for others it’s just a break of a month and a half. The students who have completed with their graduation bid farewell to each other while the students of other batches wish goodbye to their friends and promise each other to be in contact through social media.
Interning is one of the ways of socializing for a law student. It doesn’t matter where a student is going to intern he tends to make contacts and friends there and the contacts made during an internship proves to be the most useful among all. It is through these contacts that some of the students after their graduation get placed under the same firm or under the same company. Moreover interning under a reputed organization leads to the addition of some profitable contacts in the contact book of a law student.
One needs to learn the way of socializing during an internship. If a student wants to get placed there one needs to learn how to impress the organization and how to socialize with them. It’s neither by working 24*7 for them and without speaking a word during the office time and nor by just talking and communicating with the staff there. The best way is to balancing everything i.e. working with full dedication and also talking and communicating with the co-interns, junior associates, staff etc. This way one will make contacts there in the firm which will last forever and will also help him to get a job there.
While I was interning under iPleaders I got to learn a lot about working in a google doc. I never worked in a google doc because we are used to working in Microsoft Word in college but while interning I learnt about google docs both of its online and offline features. Moreover, they taught us about editing and publishing an article, all of which was new to me. Interning under iPleaders taught me how to finish an article in one day, yes it is possible.
Some friends prefer to intern with their friends in a new city which is one of the best ways to explore the city in addition to experiencing a different working atmosphere in a different city. Sometimes the firm under a student is interning take interns in a batch which expose the student to students from different backgrounds, different research and writing skills, different interests and from different colleges. One can always learn from his co-interns during an internship. Such an internship also leads to an increase in the friend-circle and the skills of the student.
In addition to learning while interning in a new city, one always has the opportunity to explore that particular city and socialize with people. An internship is one of the best ways of socializing and adding some beneficial contacts to one’s contact list.
Importance of Socializing for a Law Student
Fields other than law may or may not have the importance of socializing but the law is the field which has huge importance in the life of a law student. The career of a lawyer depends upon the contacts he has or the contacts he made through his lifetime. It doesn’t matter what type of work a lawyer is doing, it doesn’t matter if he is doing litigation or placed under a corporate firm contacts will always prove fruitful for him. Here socializing doesn’t refer to socializing only with lawyers or people from a legal background but socializing with people from each and every field because you never know who may become useful later in life. Therefore each and every law student shall always try to make as many contacts and socialize with as many people as he can.