Past academic shortcomings continue to haunt me

Just when I wrote about trying to start anew by chronicling my experiences in UP Law, my academic shortcomings last year come back to haunt me. I felt very distressed this afternoon after an unfortunate re-test of one of my freshman subjects. No matter how much I try to recover from my past mistakes or to reform from my, admittedly, poor performance last year by being much more diligent with my studies this year, they will continue to haunt me.

There’s no use regretting to have taken up a lot of extra-curriculars last year and not offering my jealous devotion to law. My renewed enthusiasm in studying may well be for naught. I don’t know what to do now. To quit, I may, to transfer I might consider, but for now if it’s not meant to be, I shall take the break and surrender to my unfortunate academic fate. I apologize to everyone I might be disappointing. I am thankful to those who understand. Admittedly, I felt terribly upset a while ago. All’s well now. But that’s probably it. Goodbye UP Law.

Academic woes get worse

I’ve been quite distraught the past days over my academic standing in Law. I’m in the brink of being kicked out because of my grades. Kicked out temporarily, at least.

Since I was already on probation during the second semester of my freshman year, I am not allowed to get any more failing marks, but after enrollment two weeks ago, our Criminal Law 2 grades came out and unfortunately, I got my first 5.0 ever. That should effectively dismiss me from UP Law.

The anomaly and the confusion, however, is that I’ve already enrolled before the grade came out and that classes have already started, and I’ve signed my class cards and all the first-day shiz.

Another thing is that the cause of my probationary status last semester, a 4.0 in Persons & Family Relations, is still unresolved. Now I don’t know if my enrollment is voided, if I can remain enrolled conditionally pending the resolution of my unremoved 4.0, or what? I still have to talk with our College Secretary to clarify my status and negotiate something.

Over the past days I’ve been thinking of my choices whatever the outcome will be. Perhaps I can start working? Some of my friends don’t like this attitude of mine, always thinking of the worst scenario in order to be emotionally and psychologically prepared for it. True, I do have the tendency to dwell on the worst scenario. Nakakabaliw nga siya. But it really is just my way of coping up with the stress. I always seek security from preparing for the worst. If the outcome is anything but the worst, then all the better. I wish I could just say this is just school, but somehow there’s always a big social price with being in a law school. All the family and societal expectations from aspiring lawyers can be stressful. It’s crazy. It’s not as easy to say to people I failed law school than say I failed… I don’t know, film school? Why? I don’t quite get it. How I miss being in undergrad. Is the law profession worth it? I know it is, I just don’t know how to answer the why.

Prepare the Plan B’s and C’s

I don’t remember feeling so distraught after an exam. Usually, especially as an undergrad, I’d always feel liberated after an exam. Not this time. I just walked out of Malcolm Theater after my Criminal Law 2 exam looking dazed. Did I just seal my future in Law, or the lack thereof, with that exam?

I couldn’t believe how, after all the sleepless nights cramming and studying crimes, I could not muster enough legal bases for my answers. To make things worse, I go out of the venue to my blockmates discussing the ‘right‘ answers, which unfortunately, were not the same as mine. And as it turned out, almost the entire exam came straight out of a sample exam that was made available in our block and which I neglected to run through.

If it turns out that I failed this exam, it might really be bye-bye Malcolm Hall. I posted an update at my Facebook wall the day before yesterday, saying that perhaps law isn’t really for me. There are times I feel like all these trouble–the many many sleepless nights, the stress, the lack of time for many things I may be doing–is it all worth it? Thinking about things I’d rather do makes me give in to these bouts of doubts. Now I feel quite uncertain about a lot of things.

Just keep studying

For some days the past two weeks, I’ve been spending half the day at the Main Library in Diliman studying for my exams in UP Law. It’s something I thought of doing just to get away from the usual routine of reading at the Law library, or spending afternoons at fancy coffee shops.

Being among undergrad students bring back a feeling of fondness, and it’s making me look forward to taking my backlog undergraduate subjects this summer. Yes, I wouldn’t be able to have much free time this summer vacation, but I couldn’t care less. There are some things I’m willing to let go of just so I can feel like an undergrad again. Nakaka-miss. Continue reading

Walang puwang

Pagpasensiyahan niyo ulit na hindi na naman ako nakakapag-blog. Mula sa paghahanda para sa Student Regent Referendum noong December mula sa mismong Referendum noong January na sinundan kaagad ng student council elections sa UP, at pinagitnaan ng iba’t ibang gawain sa University Student Council. Mula paggising hanggang pagtulog talaga noong mga nakaraang buwan puno ng mga gawain ang schedule ko. Pagkatapos na pagkatapos ng eleksyon, eto naman ako naghahabol nang todo sa pagbabasa at pag-aaral ng mga kaso. Nawawawalan na nga ako ng gana eh. Pero walang puwang para panghinaan ng loob. Kayod lang nang kayod. At Facebook. Ha ha ha! Sana nasa UP Law pa rin ako sa susunod na semester.

Exhausting holidays

After not being able to blog for more than a week, I always find it difficult to restart. The dilemma always is, do I start with the present or do I chronicle down the unwritten past days, chronologically? Do I just dump all the pictures in a blog entry or do I go write down a decent journal entry to go with it? Petty things, I know. Needless to say, the past weeks has been, for me, my most exhausting holiday season, yet, for reasons I have already mentioned, and some not. For almost two weeks prior to Christmas, I’ve been having activities every day, coming home past midnight, waking up early the next morning for another full day of tasks. When it was all over, I just dropped dead on my bed and the next thing I knew, I had slept for almost twelve hours. And then it was Christmas.

Days before the string of activities started, I was just attending my classes like a normal law student. Unfortunately, however, in almost all of our classes, I am seated at the last row, which does not bode well when the professor is a bore. It’s just too bad there’s wifi access in the room, and I’m tempted to surf the internet or play with Photobooth, alternate with listening, every once in a while. Some of our professors started calling off classes earlier than halfway through the month, perhaps in the spirit of Christmas, which is fortunate for me, because I was able to use to extra time to attend to my extra-curricular responsibilities without having to cut classes too much.

A heavy Christmas wordload

This has got to be my most hectic Christmas season yet. From big campus and national campaigns to extra-curricular functions, and almost none of them related to Christmas.

This week, for example, as part of the Defend the Office of the Student Regent campaign of KASAMA sa UP (Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP), we’re going to have a twelve-hour concert this Friday, right after the broad multi-sectoral mobilization in Makati against the Arroyo administration’s attempt at Charter Change.

This week is also the 12th anniversary week of STAND-UP (Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights – UP), where starting last Saturday, we’ve been having daily activities, from an all-day road painting, to an alliance congress to a cultural night tonight to an alumni night this Saturday.

In the University Student Council, we’ve also been having our last activities and assemblies for the year. We’ve just co-launched the Cine Veritas Human Rights Festival and wrapped up Karolfest yesterday, then there’s a big University Convocation tomorrow–and that’s not all, I still have to produce our last newsletter for the year.

For the past weeks up until this coming Friday, we’ve also been having weekly events and functions in Upsilon Sigma Phi for our 90th anniversary. We had our annual car stuffing and food stuffing event last Friday.

I haven’t even mentioned the increasing pile of academic workload for this semester. And speaking of law school, my block organized a forum this Friday, about judicial integrity, then we’re also having the annual Malcolm Madness this Saturday.

Next week, there would still be preparations for the Lantern Parade, then there’d be the KASAMA sa UP NC Meet, and to cap it all off, an All UP Student Councils Assembly which promises to be a stressful and heated assembly of student councils with conflicting ideologies and interests.

So, where’s the Christmas spirit? Where are the Christmas parties? I haven’t had time for any! Masyadong maraming kailangang isipin, gawin at napakaraming problema lang talaga sa UP at sa Pilipinas. I need to cheer up, and well, gear up for another year soon.

I still want it

October 16, 2008. As a freshman, your first final examinations in law school can really make you think about your commitment to studying the law. I’ve never experienced an end-of-semester final exam season this exhausting and stressful. Long hours of reading, series of sleepless nights, prolonged isolation from your non-law school friends and other activities really makes you ask yourself if it’s all worth it.

One night, I wanted to read all about the global economic crises and other related local issues but alas I had to read about how estranged spouses should settle the dissolution of their conjugal properties. The other day I wanted to go with my colleagues in the student council to this dialogue with the university president but I had to read about how adopted children can rescind their adoption.

Even if I already think I’m doing so much, it still feels barely enough. The other day, a few hours before taking my final exam in Persons & Family Relations, I was trembling in fear. I felt so inadequate and scared of failing. Another day of studying could’ve made a big difference, I kept thinking. If I fail my Persons & Family Relations class, I’m automatically on probation. Being on probation wouldn’t normally bother me. But it’s the expectations that I’m seeking to fulfill that really keep the pressure. One red mark and I’m disqualified. One more week and three more examinations to go for me. And who says I’m on sembreak after that? I’m immediately off to Davao for a student council congress, then to Zambales for a student council planning. Then before I know it, it’s already the beginning of another semester. That is if I don’t fail my subjects.

When studying becomes a fault

September 26, 2008. It pains me when friends and colleagues take it against me when I am unable to spend time with them or do some tasks because I need to spend time to study. Perhaps only fellow law students really understand.

Nagsasawa na akong magpaliwanag. I’m just starting to sound like I’m making excuses all the time. All of you want me to become a lawyer but you make me feel bad for trying to get it done. I don’t think many of you understand how terribly demanding law school is. I’m tempted to take a picture of my piles of readings, worth thousands of pages, all of which I had to read and will have to re-read through for the final examinations, just to show you how seriously I mean it when I say I need all the time I can to study. I wouldn’t wish such an ordeal on any of you. I’m trying my best to juggle and handle everything. ‘Pag kaya ko naman ginagawa ko, ‘pag may oras ako nagpapakita naman ako. But this I’ll admit, I’m really just so compelled to give much more time to studying. If I don’t spend as much time or more, I’m really, really going to fail some of my subjects. And if I fail I will never become the lawyer you want me to be, something I really want for myself, too.

Would you allow me to be selfish now?

August 18, 2008. “Natutulog ka pa ba?” I forget who asked me the question. I got asked the same thing around three times last week. “Yun nga ‘yung problema eh, natutulog ako,” I say. It’s so sad that I’m blaming sleep for the lack of time I need to do everything I’ve committed myself to do. There just isn’t enough waking hours to do them. I’ve never felt so depressed over grades. I was never that much of a grade-conscious person. As long as I pass and I know for myself that I’ve learned well, I’m satisfied. Last week I found out what my mid-semester average was. In spite of all the sleepless nights and the effort, it wasn’t enough. I failed big time. The fact that I was second lowest in my block made me feel so much worse. That day I went straight home from class and sulked. The week left me so tired and I am met with a failure. Inggit na inggit ako sa mga blockmates ko when they study in the library in the afternoons, or when they come to class ready and discuss among each other issues and cases one after another in attempt to review what they’ve read. I wish I had all the time to commit myself to the great demands of law school. When I see my blockmates talk about the lesson, I want to walk out because I barely know anything anymore.

But alas, I have extra-curricular commitments left and right. And even an extra undergraduate subject to worry about. I know I can do away with a lot of them. And believe me, I try. I don’t solicit tasks when I’m not asked anymore. Unfortunately, or perhaps not, there persists to be times when it’s as if I’m the only one who can perform some duties. Need a video presentation? Bikoy can do it. Need to drive someone around? Bikoy can do it. Need a resource person for a TV interview? Bikoy can do it. Nobody else would do this or that? Bikoy can do it. It’s always been a weakness of mine to refuse friends, brods, orgs, acquaintances in need.

It’s probably how I’ve been indoctrinated in Ateneo, in my political organization and even in my fraternity. Others before myself. Perhaps this was an isolated incident. The past week had just been exceptionally stressful. Aside from the midterms examinations, I had to produce the student council’s newsletter, handle a project for the frat, attend meetings left and right, do all sorts of errands and favors for family and friends. Sana hindi na lang ako natulog so I had time to do all these.

It’s gotten this bad, I’m blaming sleep for taking away precious working and studying time. I do so many things for other people, I end up barely taking care of myself. Law studies is a demanding bitch. And I’ve realized that in order to survive my first year in law school, I’d have to be a little more selfish than I was before. That is if I can handle the guilt. Tantanan niyo muna ako.