November 30, 2015. I have just hurdled the infamous “bar exams,” the licensure examinations for aspiring lawyers in the Philippines.
Besides actually passing the exams, successfully concluding the eight (8) examinations scheduled over the four (4) Sundays of November is a significant milestone for all law school graduates, having gone through four or five years of law school, in itself a struggle and a feat. It is the culminating point of the journey taken by many young and aspiring lawyers. As with any culminating point or climax, it is treated with much significance by those who share the same epic narrative and by those who share our aspirations.
This conclusion is of great relief for me, in particular, I would dare say, because it did not take me four or five years—it took me seven years of arduous study which I began back in 2008, as an idealistic 20 year-old fresh graduate from film school. Wide-eyed but terribly unacquainted with the intensive study necessary, I got myself dismissed from the University of the Philippines (UP Law) after a year and a half for failing two basic subjects. I took a break for a little more than half a year, and began another parallel journey in the University of Santo Tomas (UST Law), where it took me many more failures and five more years before I finally made it to graduation day.
I would normally attribute my lackluster academic performance to my many involvements beyond the classroom from the student council to national politics, and the many distractions in between, but that would sound like I am making excuses—I am making none. All my involvements were conscious decisions, and some were mistakes, and I live by my failures not with pride but with a badge of honor. After all is said and done, I graduated law school and I finished the bar exams! I’m over and done with it.
All that is left now, is the anxious and hopeful yet guarded optimism in awaiting the results. I would never wish to have to go through it again and prepare to re-take the exams in the unfortunate circumstance that I don’t pass. Just the thought gives me daytime and conscious nightmares, if there were even such things. Perhaps it is borne, too, of the exaggerated significance Philippine society and Filipino families have placed on this certain profession (a congition I do not agree with, by the way, but that is for another blog entry for me to discuss).
It is time, now, for much needed rest.