IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that nothing worth having ever comes easy. Much more than testing my mind, law school has tested my self-esteem, my will to fight and my hold to my dream. I knew I wanted to be a CPA-Lawyer since first grade. Though in everything else, I might be indecisive, but that dream has remained one constant thing in my life—even before I had full comprehension of what law is or of what it would entail to practice the profession.
I admit that this naiveté is what led me to study law and to pursue it to the finish line. When I sometimes forget why I pursue the forever stressful and hard road of law, I hang on to this naiveté. I imagine rather than overthink things because over-contemplation is not fun; it breeds impatience, which lowers your potential and creates fear. But when fear does creep on me, my sisters are there reminding me not to mess up. I guess I am more afraid of their wrath than of my fear of failing. I have hurdled past the CPA-dream with the green school. Now, I have crossed over to the other side to fulfill the lawyer-dream with the blue school. I am half past my way in achieving it, and definitely, I cannot stop now.
Whenever things come to an end, we always tend to backtrack and remember some of the best and heartbreaking memories.
As the end of my last semester in Ateneo Law School comes near, I remember the first day of class with my first law school barkada—Yna, Mia, Cates, Ricca and Allan. That first day, I remember we were feeling quite anxious of the hardships ahead, but at the same time excited of being part of it. I was not able to graduate at the same time with them because I took a leave for a year. Still, I am grateful for finding friends in law school who are not only ‘with’ me, but were there ‘for’ me as I for them. I was blessed to have great friends from my blockmates—both original and current—to my org families, the Ateneo Law School Choir, the Campus Ministry Office and The Palladium.
I still remember vividly my interview with a good professor who told me he looks forward to having me as his student, but sadly, it didn’t happen. He may not have been my professor in any of the four years I stayed at ALS, but he was one of the reasons why I am here in law school.
I remember my interview for internship with Atty. Jose Cochingyan, asking me about tax and fringe benefits. I will always be grateful to him for accepting me as an intern in his firm because it was in one of our conversations that summer that I found a topic for my thesis.
I remember the one and only time in law school I was reprimanded by a professor. I held on to my emotions until I finally got home and cried that night. Nevertheless, I will always be grateful for him for giving me an opportunity to push myself and rise above the occasion by reciting five cases in a row on our next meeting. I guess what they say is true: “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” It was an experience I will have in my story bank to tell years later.
I remember the times my co-thesis advisees and I would have to meet with our adviser, Atty. Gonzalez, and the times I have to prepare for his comments and advise. Though I never had him as a professor in any subject, meeting him gave me an opportunity to know and be inspired by one of the sharpest and brilliant minds in the field of taxation.
I remember struggling to balance my work and my law studies. It was in my second year that I worked as a financial associate at an audit firm. If not for the fact of being assigned to the cluster of a very considerate partner and the privilege of working with smart and very practical friends who were more excited than me when I returned to law school, I probably would not have made it. It was during the first semester of my last year in law school that I worked as a legal assistant and an audit consultant in a publishing firm. The president, the manager and my co-workers have been very patient, flexible and supportive of my studies. They were the support system I had outside school who helped me in more ways than I have even imagined.
I remember those times when I went home in Pampanga, my parents would always ask me how law school is. I always answered, “it is hard.” Just seeing them after weeks of not going home and knowing their sacrifices and their wish for me to succeed, I knew that everything was worth it.
Counting My Blessings
It was in law school that I met my fair share of people who can love and hate law at the same time with a depth of feeling to their very soul. I don’t think there is one law student who has not whined about the stress, the long list of cases, the lack of sleep, or the eccentricities of some professors. In spite of these, we cannot help but to pursue our law studies, whatever our reason may be. But as a chapter comes to an end, we continue to count our blessings. We met and gained friends inside and outside law school, who we may never had met otherwise. We were blessed to have met brilliant people in this field who have touched, inspired and changed us. We learned to appreciate the good things, surpass the heartbreaking ones and know we become better or stronger persons in the end. And we learned that our experience in law school—though it never came easy—would always be worth having.