This year’s Orsem started out with uncertainty, perhaps reflective of what the freshmen have been feeling: unsure of what to expect for the following days to come. Hours before the event, heavy rain continued to pour, with organizers unsure whether the event will push through. Thankfully, with the go signal from Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, the Orsem team were able to set up on time for Tahak. The annual Orientation Seminar meant to welcome and introduce incoming freshmen into Ateneo Law School, which ended up to be a huge success.
The Orsem theme for 2017 is “Tahak”, a Filipino verb that means “to go down a challenging path”, which heads Francis Manuel and Ryan Pelongco found to be a fitting theme for this year as it best captures what the freshmen would go through once they enter law school. Down from the hill, yet up another mountain. They wanted to emphasize to the freshmen that they will not be in this alone, and that law school will open them to a host of people that will aid them through the four years, who usually become family.
As usual, Orsem was opened with remarks from Dean Sedfrey Candelaria, along with talks from Atty. Francis Rodrigo, Atty. Mae Divinagracia, and Atty. Ivy Patdu, who shared their personal experiences with students, aimed at inspiring the freshmen to excel in school. The program was hosted by Romano Santos, Nami Salud, and Salve Villavicencio, whose group dynamic kept the crowd engaged all throughout, with their witty jokes and friendly banter. The blocks were also able to bond through the group dynamic activities which were conducted in the classrooms.
While there were many things that remained the same about Orsem, changes were also made this year. First is the inclusion of a Gender Sensitivity talk, given by members of the Ateneo Human Right Center. This is in line with the school’s goal to produce respectful and upright lawyers imbued with the Atenean value of cura personalis. Another twist is when the “mock recitation”, usually done by an upperclassman student, was instead conducted by actual law professors, which included Dean Sed himself! Lastly, this year’s Orsem Night had free-flowing drinks and beer pong, with DJ Adrian Cob spinning the latest tunes.
When asked about his experience, freshman Justin Hernandez from 1C shares that it was a rollercoaster of emotions. “At first, it was all happy-happy, with the talks about exciting topics such as Bar Ops, but the talks about grades and going through the mock recitation with Dean made me feel pressured.” Having come from the Loyola Schools, he says that this Orsem experience was different in that he didn’t know what to expect. “We were really caught off guard, kala namin puro fun and games, but there were readings rin pala and all”, but that he still enjoyed the experience.
Mars Barrameda from 1B also shares the same statements. Also coming from the Loyola Schools, she thought that Orsem would be like the one she experienced four years ago- being forced to dance, play games, and run around campus. However, she found herself pleasantly surprised to find out that it was more professional and geared towards post-graduate students. The most pleasant surprise for her was how she got so well with her blockmates, who she described as warm, kind, and generous. When asked how she found the program overall, she shares “I enjoyed Orsem, and I can honestly say that I left with more than I came in: insights from lawyers, the hard truth of what is to come, and a family in this new phase in my life”.
Truly, Orsem Tahak more than adequately prepared the incoming batch of freshmen to take on their own law school journey, with their newfound family in the law school community cheering them on. P