By Shivani Chimnani:
After graduating from high school and embracing adulthood, the most awaited phase of my life was coming – college. Like every other person, I too had typical expectations from college. An extravagant welcome, a vibrant class and encouraging seniors. I was all set with my eyes on the stars and my feet on the ground to conquer the university. I was all geared up for the best phase of my life. I was ready for college.
As I set foot in the 161 year old structure that was my college, I was initially greeted with a whiff of ammonia and large specks of dust. Much to my dismay, college was not what I expected it to be. Everyone seemed aloof and nonchalant and an extravagant welcome seemed more than a far fetched idea. Nonetheless, this did not deter my spirit. I thought my classmates would be nice. Unfortunately, I was in for another bummer. I didn’t seem to have an instant connection with any of them. Just when things were plummeting down, there came another landslide. The cool seniors I had hoped to meet and and emulate were barely present. Everything was going quite contrary to my expectation. College had been ruined for me. Feelings like hate, annoyance, resentment, sorrow, regret, fury were what I was going through in the initial days. Going to law school was quite an unplanned decision for me and I was disappointed.
So, what changed? My morose life at college took a big fat turn. Time did heal everything; in fact, time did a pretty good job. All the things I’d hope for did eventually happen. The fruit of patience reaped its benefits and I consider going to Government Law College, Mumbai as one of my best decisions. This college made me meet peers who were intelligent and encouraged me to raise my IQ level, to read more, learn more, and above all to be more. For starters in law school, if there’s one thing which one must know, it is public speaking. A skill I was utterly clueless about. The ever so supportive seniors taught us the art of public speaking and other valuable skills to survive half a decade in law school. My college gave me the opportunities to explore the legal world, to build my talents and work in a team. It encouraged me to go for competitions ranging from moot courts to debates to Model United Nations, both in India and abroad. My time in law school also made me socially aware and morally conscious. Most importantly, this college inculcated within me a love for the law. My spontaneous decision turned into an obsession with the law, with justice. This college which has been associated with legends of law inspired each student to work hard to uphold their legacy. This college helped me bring out the best in me.
I may not be in the top law school in the country, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am in a place where there are students with whom I can discuss about the tragic Syrian crisis and at the same time gossip about the Kardashians. I’m in an environment with a spirit of competition but at the same time it is also supportive. I have known people who would lend you notes, answer your midnight queries and sometimes just help you get through extreme exam anxiety. I’m in a law school with impassioned students who travel from the remotest corners of the city amidst the torrential Mumbai monsoon downpour and a dysfunctional commute system to make it in time for the 7 am lecture. I am in a law school with the most amazing people who inspire me every day.
My college does not have an enormous campus, it doesn’t always get exceptional university rankings, it does not have “state of the art” facilities and for a lot of people it’s a mere backup option. But let me tell you something, it does one thing right, it produces amazing lawyers. It comprises of the students who strive day in and day out under this rusty, old structure with the dreams of being the next Ram Jethmalani. The college witnesses the passion of students who begin their day with the library opening hours, the zealous freshmen who lend all their energy in hosting the best moot court competitions of the country, the exceptional teachers who support you from answering your academic queries to addressing injustices by Mumbai University, the kind ones making time for social service in midst of studying for cumbersome law finals and the brave souls who choose to take the unconventional path and study to be better lawyers with the sole aim of procuring justice and making a difference.
It’s not being in the best college or reading the best books which make you excel. Such things are rather expendable. Sometimes it is your staunch convictions, your relentless efforts and your surroundings that do the trick. The building, the location, the library have made this college great but if I were to see what it is today, I would say the people make it what it is.