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The year was 2016, and the day was the 23rd of April… It had been a fortnight since one of the biggest and most engaging challenges in my teenage years had been done and dusted with and the sheer state of rhapsody that it produced in my mind even two weeks later was nothing short of sheer bliss.
However, I did realize that relaxing for too long wasn’t going to help me along my path to accomplish what I wanted most; to be an independent, working man ready to face the challenges of an exigent work ethos. The only thing that crossed my mind time and again was opting for a career in law, because the truth was that I never liked mathematics; it’s countless formulae and steps were something I could never truly comprehend, especially when I had to be assessed for it. Neither did I possess a scientific bent of mind; and so the idea of becoming a physician or an engineer was also rejected. Law, as diametrically opposed to medicine and applied engineering, was something that tremendously appealed to the core of my being. As a subject, law encompasses certain pre-requisites for which I felt I had a natural calling; chief of them being the ability to read, and not just merely read, but rather to read between the lines and be able to arrive at a correct conclusion whilst adding one’s critical analysis of the matter at hand. Secondly, it is a subject which I feel is very relevant to human existence in general, as it equips one with the savoir-faire of learning how to protect oneself, as well as others, though the power of eloquence and the majesty of written words, smattered with principles founded in ethics and good conduct. Last but not the least, law was an academic discipline which would enrich me with sufficient human capital in order to attain that which I yearned for most: a sense of amour-propre coupled with social and economic independence.
Just as in the acquisition of any form of knowledge, studying law can be very challenging indeed. The primary reason for the difficulty that can be attributed to it is undoubtedly the sheer volume of bare acts, statutes, legal precedents, and research work which goes into making an individual an advocate. Yet, just as a gardener who diligently labours upon a garden with unconditional love is bestowed with the sight of being the progenitor of a beautiful flower-laden, verdant oasis, the same principle holds true for the study of law. The yield that it produces is immeasurably gratifying as it opens a portal which assures any prospective graduate a sense of self-reliance; a quality which is imprescriptible if one truly wishes to be a Renaissance man in a world replete with challenges. After all, the order of the 21st century is that of staying up to date, being proactive, and most importantly, efficient.
I can say with full certainty, that after five long years, the experience which I have managed to empirically gain has been well worth the wait as it has taught me to be, amongst other things, a keen listener; a critical thinker; an indefatigable researcher; an ethical professional; and to top it off, a man who wishes to turn his technical qualification into a means of dignified bread-earning. Besides studying, I also managed to take out time to not only learn Spanish and French but also to focus on one of my all-time favourite passions – art history. There is plenty of time; the question is to what extent are we truly willing to take time out to pursue extra co-curricular activities without allowing it to interfere in one’s academic work.
As Voltaire correctly summed it up, le travail éloigne de nous trois grans maux: l’ennui, le vice et le besoin” (work distances us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.) For me, this quote continues to remain as impactful as it was when I first came across it in 2018, as not only did it instil a sense of being true to one’s work no matter what it is, it also vindicates that wonderful sense of accomplishment which we ought to strive for – of balancing work with extra co-curricular activities in order to mould ourselves into sapient all-rounders.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead July 2021 issue.