“Not Your Average Law Student”

Hey friends! A few weeks ago, to celebrate the end of the year, I was asked to write an article in our University of Auckland Law School’s student magazine. I struggled to put together a short piece about myself which same time would help gear students for their upcoming exams. I’ve never found writing anything this difficult – because the truth is, I may pretend to know what I am doing – but mostly I stumble from one day, one hospital bed, one lecture or one event to the next, hoping I wake up the next day to play this game of mine again.

5 years later.. my degrees are about to end and I can’t even say I know very much about anything but…  here’s the article for those that have requested to see it. 

Published: Verbatim, Issue 4, 2017

Edited by: Lucy Tothill (Verbatim Editor 2017)

Written by: Denisha Chetty (your’s truly)


“Its Tuesday night, I race home from Trial Advocacy and begin the set up. I sterilize the room, switch on the machine and prepare the needles. I hold my breath and using my right hand I insert two needles the size of a ballpoint pen into my left arm. I watch anxiously as my blood fills the empty pipes leading back to the machine, entering the filter it begins to be cleaned. This is my life, three times a week, four hours each, going on 10 years.

Suddenly the phone rings.

I listen closely as my life as I have known it changes in two minutes.

Somewhere, someone has decided to donate their kidney to me.

My name is Denisha Chetty, I am 22 years old, I am a fifth year Law/Science conjoint student and I have end stage kidney failure. I started my university experience living in ward 71 at Auckland Hospital every night getting infusions of yellow fluids, drugs and treatments then walking up the road to sit in LAW121. Whilst one part of my life was failing tremendously, the challenge of getting an 8.0 GPA provided the perfect distraction to my health, studying Fitzgerald v Muldoon suddenly had a deeper purpose. Ever since then I’ve been exactly the same, pushing myself in areas that I could control such as my career and using it as a method to manage the pain of the one area that I couldn’t control, my health. The only thing that has kept me going is wanting more for myself and laughing at the next bad event as if it was a challenge I’m meant to overcome. I never knew I wanted to do law, I still don’t know if I will, but I do know that I’ve always had an interest in helping people so I took this on board hoping it’ll lead me there. I have no choice but to live for each day, because at any moment everything can change and I’m back … tied to a hospital bed. The sad reality is that frankly that could be you just the same, you will never know. Right now for all of us, it’s the time of the year where stress takes over. There’s nothing I can say to change what might come but I can tell you what works for me. Assess the things currently existing in your life and ask yourself why you do what it is you do, what purpose does it have in your life, where will it take you and most importantly is that where you want to be. If something does not have any meaning to you, it is extremely difficult for you motivate yourself to continue doing it, let alone be successful at it. Make a short/long term list of things to do, don’t call it a bucket list as that gives you too much time to get things done, and ensure that every single thing you do adds to those goals. Do this and learn to be grateful for tomorrow is unexpected, maybe you will get a life changing call.

“I promise you from the bottom of my slowly beating heart if you give meaning to everything around you… there is nothing you cannot conquer.