Weekend notes – September 07, 2009

I spent almost the entire day last Sunday sleeping. Due to several unexpected circumstances, I was barely able to sleep the day before. I started my Saturday early, reading through some materials for a bill I was drafting for Kabataan Partylist. Spent the afternoon at Kabab Korner along Matalino St. with Airah, my co-officer in the legislative staff. It was the first time I spent the afternoon at the place, and it turned out to be a pretty decent experience as there was barely anyone else around and there was free wifi access. I was able to finish the first draft of the bill by the end of the afternoon. The bill, by the way, is a magna carta of sorts for workers in the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry, who are mostly call center agents. Hopefully, we will be able to file it within this week, or the next.

This weekend also marked the start of the bar exam season. Last Saturday night I went to Manila to pass by the bar operations (bar ops) of my fraternity and of UP Law. I was supposed to leave by midnight, but I ended up doing some legwork the entire night till that morning. Stationed at the Century Park hotel, every hour or so, I was running up and down, in an around the hotel getting tips from sources and slipping copies of the tips under the door of our bar candidates’¬†rooms. I didn’t expect myself to be doing this after three years in the frat, but all’s well in frat work.

In between, I was able to lounge at one of the rooms we were able to reserve. Also one of my consolations was that I was able to get one of the breakfast buffet stubs which I took advantage of Sunday morning before retiring and going home.

A few days before, in one of my visits to Malcolm Hall, I bumped into some of my law blockmates. As it turns out, a lot, ranging from the interesting to the intriguing, has been happening around the college and among our batchmates in the Class of 2012.

I’ve been dropping by Malcolm Hall these past few days to finalize my clearance papers. Last Thursday I received a TCG (true copy of grades), and to my surprise, the subject I was supposed to have failed which was why I got dismissed from the college turned out to be a pass, not a fail. I honestly didn’t know what to feel. Glad, because I am not dismissed after all and I will be able to continue my law studies in UP? At a loss, because having had the wrong assumption, I started skipping my classes altogether and dropped them? For a while then, there was rush of emotions. I did feel glad, but I felt largely confused as to what my fate would be. I had already started work in Congress, I had already started establishing a small business, I had committed myself to a TV show, among other things, all in the assumption that I was dismissed from law school.

As it turned out, it was a false alarm, due to a glitch in the computer system. It was a sad reminder that I was indeed out of UP Law, but nonetheless a relief that all the plans I had drawn since my dropping out will push through. The past few days, I have realized the reality in the adage that when one door closes, a window of other opportunities open for people who recognize them. Again, all is well with me for now.

Random notes – September 04, 2009

BATASAN STUFF. A couple of nights ago, Rep. Mong Palatino took me to the congressmen’s lounge beside session hall, to sample some of the food. It is exclusive to members of the House but I think they’re allowed to bring one or two of their staff or family once in a while. It was free, limitless, hotel-like food for congressmen every session day. Apparently, Mong said he hasn’t seen any same dish served twice for the entire month. No wonder many of the congressmen get fat in Congress, literally, and figuratively too.

That night, it was Chinese-themed food. I don’t think Congress has a concept of simple living, which is a shame in a poor country like the Philippines. Iba talaga when one has the “power of the purse.” Speaking of Congress’ “power of the purse,” I briefly attended the first hearing of Congress for the government’s P 1.541 trillion budget for next year. The hearing was very well-attended by the congressmen, their staff and employees of the Budget and the Finance departments. I could barely find a comfortable place, not even to sit, but to stand. It’s that packed. Iba talaga pag pera na ang pag-uusapan.

TAMBAY SA OSPITAL. A few days ago, some of my fraternity batchmates and I brought another batchmate of ours to the hospital due to his chronic seizures because of his multiple sclerosis. He had five attacks that day, and the UP Health Service urged us to move him to a bigger health facility because all they could provide were valium shots. It was the first time I saw someone having a serious seizure, and it was quite scary. Since his parents were in the province and his relatives couldn’t come as soon as possible, we stayed at the hospital the rest of the afternoon, some of us till later that evening.

MEETING BOY ABUNDA. In between staying at the hospital, I went to a meeting with some ABS-CBN staff together with Boy Abunda, to talk about his new political talk show. I don’t know why I’m part of it. I got a call a few days earlier inviting me to join in, and well, I agreed. Though I’m having second thoughts now. True, I may be opinionated, I write and I blog, but I don’t do a lot of talking, really. Details to follow, as I don’t think I’m at liberty to disclose any more information about it.

CLEARING OUT OF U.P. I’m currently processing my papers for my honorable dismissal from UP Law. I passed by Malcolm Hall yesterday, after not being there for weeks now. It didn’t feel nice being in a place you were forced to leave all of a sudden. Unfortunately, I’ll have to keep coming back the next few days to finish the process, get a transcript and other papers to be able to take tests in other law schools.

Hanging on in the meantime

Last Saturday, I still took my midterm exams in Insurance. The previous night, I struggled to muster enough enthusiasm to review. At the back of my mind played the thought that staying up that late and re-reading piles of cases was worthless, because at the end of the day, it wouldn’t matter if I pass or if I get a high score in that particular exam because I won’t be able to enroll next semester anyway.

However, I’ve decided to just go on. I will try to attend classes in the coming days while I await the final advice form the UP Law administration, in the rare and slim chance that I get through by some miracle–without being too hopeful, of course.

Sure, it may be a waste of time and energy if what’s supposed to happen is inevitable. I just try to think of it as a way for me to take advantage of my last days in Malcolm Hall, and perhaps, for the pure desire to learn, regardless of the fact that I won’t earn any academic credit for it.

In between reviewing for the exam at a coffee shop, I was also hopping over next-door for my undergraduate college organization‘s anniversary night, being held at the restaurant beside the coffee shop.

It was great seeing my contemporaries again, and catching up on their careers. Most of them are in media companies, for obvious reasons. As for myself, I told them I’m still in law school, though I left out the part where I was supposed to say I’m struggling to stay in law. It wasn’t a time to dampen the mood of people.

Last night I also went to another party, it was Inter-B, the inter-batch party of UP Law’s block B’s. The sophomores, that’s our batch, organized the event. Since I’m about to be out of the college soon anyway, I might as well attend the last inter-batch party I can attend as a student. I will miss my blockmates. They’ve been so supportive all along, ever since we all started out last year.

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.

I shall write more about my law school experience

I shall start to attempt writing down chronicles of my stay in law school. Perhaps it can be a way for me to totally imbibe the law school routine. Sometimes I feel like the reason why I don’t blog much about my experiences in law school is that I feel like everything is just some negligible routine which I don’t bother remembering for posterity. Up until now, I still don’t feel like I totally want to become a lawyer. I just struggle my way in the College of Law one day at a time, without fixating on the finish line or the thought of graduating too much. It’s difficult enough to think about getting by each week, after all. But that’s not right. I’m on my second year, and there’s no turning back.

Anyway, certainly there are things you don’t appreciate till they’re gone. This won’t be another Cory Aquino-related blog entry, though. (God bless her soul as the nation escorts her to her final resting place today).

Yesterday the entire air-conditioning system of the College was down. It was like some inconvenient server crash. Some people know how much I sweat, often more than others. Needless to say, I was sweating profusely in my two classes. To make things worse, I got called for recitation and I was largely unprepared. And even more unfortunately, it was one of those sessions when I was the only one who was called to recite during the entire two-hour lecture. It was just one of those days. I got by, nonetheless, with lucky guesses and my classmates’ “radio coaching”.

In another matter, I’ve recently discovered the convenience of studying at Malcolm Hall’s student lounge. For the longest time since my freshman days, I always went to the library or to some coffee shop outside school to study during long breaks or after class. There seemed to be no other choice if I didn’t want to go home yet. However, the past weeks, since I lost my ID and the guard has blacklisted me from the library, I was forced to find an alternative academic hang-out, where I don’t have to buy anything. And then there was the student lounge at the ground floor. I always thought it was an exclusive tambayan for some law school cliques. Not quite, really. It was a homey, air-conditioned lounge complete with couches and other fixtures. Pretty neat.

Wow. This entry sounds quite mundane! Well, it’s a start. Hopefully if I get the hang of this, I shall write about some (academic) lessons learned, too, not only so that I could share them with everyone, but so I could recall them more easily, perhaps, (because I would be forced to digest legal doctrines and cases, unless you want me to write lengthily about them).

Law students against Cha-cha

We, law students from UP, UST, Lyceum, San Beda, PUP, Arellano, and San Sebastian, united by common ideals, do strongly voice out our opposition to charter change. As students of the law, we recognize the supremacy of the Constitution, the highest law of the land. On it hinges the legality or illegality of all other laws.

We also recognize that it is actually us, the people of the Philippines, who are the true authors of the Constitution, and as such, any move to amend or revise the Constitution should respect the will of the people of the Philippines.

We agree that the law only authorizes three methods of changing the charter, and that it is the intent of the framers of the Constitution that any amendments or revisions must still be ratified by the citizens, thus giving to the citizens a very important role in shaping the highest law of the land.

We generally have nothing against charter change, since it is provided for in the Constitution itself. What we are against is the suspect timing of such a move, which we believe is motivated by the political agenda of those involved, especially the ones who vehemently push for the approval of a Constituent Assembly.

We believe that all this commotion dwells too much on the procedural aspect of charter change, under the assumption that a Constituent Assembly is perfectly legal. Yet any move to change the charter should be done with pure intentions, for the greater good of the republic.

Charter change should not be done to prolong the terms of those currently in power, nor to prostitute our natural resources to the highest bidder, nor to grant absolute power to certain individuals or groups who have had a history of wielding their power for their own personal benefit.

We, the law students of UP, UST, Lyceum, San Beda, PUP, Arellano, and San Sebastian, have come together as an alliance, opposing vehemently all moves to change the Constitution, until such time that the people of the Philippines deem it right. And until then, we shall stand guard over the liberties of the Filipino people, defending those who are ignorant of the law from those who seek to take advantage of them.

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.

B ushers in B

With the new de-blocking system in place at the UP College of Law, the traditional block culture may be gone. Starting this year, only freshmen will get to have the same classmates in all their classes. After their first year, UP Law students can choose their professors and classes individually, through a bidding and registration system similar to US law schools, apparently. There are various reasons to this, as explained by the Dean during his talk with Batch 2012 yesterday. Ultimately it is to give the individual student the privilege to take the classes and the schedule that would best suit his needs that would hopefully result to better performance.

Despite the de-blocking policy, however, my blockmates and I coordinated among each other, and along with other blocks in Batch 2012, in order for original blockmates to remain with each other in our classes this first semester of our second year. I guess most of us have become clingy with each other the past year. Undoubtedly, and speaking from experience, one’s blockmates is one of the more reliable support groups in law school a law student can have. Indeed, the bond that uniquely shared experiences can forge among law students can be strong for some.

For a few days the last week, my blockmates and I have been participating in the freshmen orientation program for the new batch of law students this year. Each block is tasked to orient a freshman block into life in Malcolm Hall, the same way it has been done over the years. It’s cliche, but it feels pretty weird how time flies by quite quickly, and we’re now the ones ushering in the freshmen into law school. In a few days, I shall begin my second year of law studies. (Start of classes were postponed for a week due to the swine flu precautions imposed by the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Health). Hopefully, I get through with it better this year. With stricter academic rules in place in the College, I really have to take this seriously already.

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