I started studying for NEET in 11th grade hoping to get through to medicine as a field since, from a young age, I wanted to put on the white lapel. Ironically, in a twist of fate, it ended up being so that I was adorned with the black one instead, much to the disappointment of my family.
I gave two years of my life after 12th grade exclusively to NEET prep, hoping that I would someday make a fine doctor. However, with the advent of COVID-19, plans changed at a lightning speed. My apprehensions regarding the field skyrocketed with the rising number of cases against violence and mismanagement in the medical industry. As a result, at the end moment, encouraged by my family as well, I decided to look into other avenues. At that point in time, CLAT was the only application open for the field of law and I applied.
On the 26th of September, I got my NEET answer sheet and realized immediately that I would not be getting a good medical college and that my dream was over.
On the 28th, I had my CLAT and I realized that perhaps I could dream another dream at 21!
I prepared for a day, wrote some mocks on a CLAT prep website and went in for the test the day after. With a popular opinion that the test was mired with controversy and the conduct was lacking, I had similar inhibitions as I did not know anything about the functioning of the field at all. When the result came out, I got a rank in the 3000’s and didn’t even know whether it was good or bad. For a day’s prep, I felt it was alright and thus I ended up in the Institute of Law, Nirma University.
It wasn’t easy to give up on a lifelong dream and the fact that I was studying alien subjects didn’t make it easier. My objective mind took a lot of time to understand the subjectivity of certain topics and as such, I tried as much as I could to engage with the institution that I was now studying at. This is not to say that everyone was accepting of my choice, as taunts followed since I ended up in a college out of my domain as a failure.
I lost the life that I had dreamt of and in spite of my greatest effort, my gusto didn’t return.
In the process though, I did make a few great friends- some of them lasted a month and others still continue but there was always a feeling of the years that I had wasted and the time I would never get back.
All of this was alongside me somehow being able to perform well in my classes- something I did not expect. Perhaps it was the online classes but I found the subjects likeable and more suitable to my studies. I started realising that perhaps medicine was my passion but law somehow fit me and this realisation materialised in February, with the intra-murals for the debate society in my college. I entered on a whim and did well enough to get into the panel of debaters.
It was at my first debate tournament though that I regained my gusto for life.
I was thrashed and massacred in that room and got the last place and with that, I fell in love with this activity I had never worked on before.
I contacted people I debated with- some of them responded but most didn’t. And the some who did are the people who I can safely call some good friends of mine. My partner in the intramurals is the same one I still debate with and he’s one of the closest in the college to me. I took the advice and worked hard, eventually winning one of the tournaments that I did. It wasn’t easy, but it was exceptionally fun.
It was recently during a conversation with a relative when a snide remark was made that I couldn’t clear NEET and thus settled on law that I think the debater in me responded- yes, so what? The silence on the other end was something that felt riveting for it released me from a great burden I had- I was no longer carrying the pain of not having lived my previous dream but was indulging in another wholeheartedly.
–an ex-medico and current debater