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A Day in the Life of a Bar Candidate

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

In these troubling times wherein the pandemic seemingly wants to stay for eternity, Bar candidates preparing for the January 2022 exams have been on a roller coaster of emotions. For those who have graduated last 2020, the agony of waiting has become so intense that they sometimes drown in their own thoughts. For those who recently graduated, the same feeling also lingers with the stress that for the first time, they experience the burden of having to deal with another postponement.

The original plan was that the Bar was supposed to be conducted this November. However, due to unforeseen circumstances such as the rise of COVID-19 cases because of several variants, the Court decided to reschedule the exams to January.

Indeed, the early announcement was a relief to most because these supposed takers no longer have a sense of direction. They have been burning themselves out preparing for the exams so as to acquire every legal information needed under the syllabus.

After the announcement, some students took a break for a day or two in order to collect their minds and gather their composure. But, as Justice Leonen emphasized, the aforesaid suspension must be utilized properly. The additional time allotted must be used for studying in order to fully prepare for the upcoming Bar examinations.

So we ask—how are you doing today?

For the past few months, we know that you have been analyzing how you could fully utilize your time for study. For the past few weeks, we know that you have been struggling in the sense that you have lost a step or two in preparing for the Bar. For the past few days, we know that you have been thinking of ways on how to fully cope with your revamped schedule and eventually be effective in studying.

Do not fret. Do not worry. You are not alone.

In a day in the life of a Bar candidate, there seems to be some common grounds and factors that happen to all of us.

More often than not, Bar candidates wake up tired—stressed that all they have to do for the day is study again. Forgetting whatever vivid dreams they had the night before, they rest their eyes for a moment before staring blankly into the ceiling and walls of their rooms.

After contemplating a bit, they check their phones and surf through the vast world of social media platforms while lying down on their comfy beds. Their notifications burst from one platform to another—notifications that encapsulate both their personal and academic life.

At one point, they see the likes and comments on one of their memes or photos shared. At another, they see their group chats piling up conversations about how they are preparing for the online application or what subject they are currently having a problem with. A few minutes after, they would go out of the comforts of their favorite resting place and decide to open their laptops and prepare their reading materials for the day. They would tidy up their study areas and prepare the materials needed in order to be equipped with the proper knowledge needed for the examinations.

But before fully getting into the battlefield, they would first prepare their bodies and minds for the long day ahead. They would eat their favorite breakfast and prepare their fuel—a cup of coffee or tea as the case may be. They would then wash their faces with that cold water running through their home’s faucets so as to be enlightened by the fact that the day is about to start.

For some, a light workout is needed in order to keep the blood flowing. Some people need to warm up their respective bodies so as to maintain that heat going to the battlefield that is the study area.

They then go back to the area they prepared for themselves—the study table that now boasts of kilometric reading assignments, gadgets needed to be used for review, and a supply of snacks and drinks needed to favor the body to continue reading.

The first few minutes or hours remain the hardest. While one is scheduled to review, the mind still thinks of other things. However, in the long run, the mind accepts the fact that you need to study and that it adjusts itself according to your will.

You then spend a handful of hours reading, understanding, and memorizing certain legal readings. At some point, you remember some lessons from your law school days. At some point, you realize that there are certain questions that you recall having been asked in recitations. At some point, you come to remember that there are some legal topics that you have already encountered either in quizzes or exams back in your days as a law student.

And then, after all the information overload, your mind and your body beg for a break. You then decide to rest your eyes and check some news or notifications on your phones. You realize that it has been hours since you last checked your accounts. You are flooded once again with chats and messages of all kinds. There are some who talk about the online application process. There are some planning to do a study stream for the day. There are some who ask for legal advice. There are some who simply ask how your day is going.

At one point, you try to keep up and try to answer some queries from friends, loved ones, and colleagues. However, there comes a point of burnout that you realize that you are now spending too much time on social media.

But when you decide to go back to studying, your stomach disagrees and reminds you that you need to eat again. You will then check the clock and eventually realize that it’s an hour or two past lunchtime. You have not eaten anything since the morning meal.

You then decide to eat late lunch and do some chores thereafter. You wash the dishes, clean the sala for a while, and then decide to start at a specific time to continue your schedule of studying for the day.

By the time you continue, you will then realize that there has been a fast pace of events that happened. You will realize that there is not enough time to study for the afternoon. So you cram your schedule and hope to the best of your abilities to cover all the reading tasks you have set for yourself.

And then, in a heartbeat, you realize that the sun has set and you are left with a dark and seemingly empty room in your area. You open the lights, charge your phone, tablet, and laptop, and then decide to take another round of break. This time, the break is not necessarily just for social media updates and news.

You decide to take a bath and calm your senses. You feel like you have done so much yet too little at the same time. You put on your favorite playlist and drown under the lyrics of your favorite songs while you contemplate.

After a long day, you realize that you still have some time in order to read more materials. After eating your dinner and eventually taking care of yourself for the latter part of the day, you decide to read some more, telling yourself that it would only be an hour or two—tops.

Then, you will realize that while the mind is still willing, the body can no longer push forward. The body has given up. Your headache starts to worsen. Your eyesight has become blurry at some point. You tell yourself that this is already an indicator that you have done enough.

And to reward yourself for the so-called productive day, you then decide to watch a movie or an episode of a series. You tell yourself that this is also a good way to pass up time and eventually tire yourself for an easy sleep later on.

You check on what’s trending. You ask some friends what they would recommend. You decide to pick one of the movies or series on top of your head and watch the same without emotion. You are too tired to feel. You are too tired to think. You are too exhausted to analyze a movie that is supposed to give you only some time to rest your mental state.

After which, you then clean up your area and decide to call it a day. You realize that’s it’s already past midnight and that you need to plot another day for tomorrow. But because you have seemingly lost all your energy, you choose to rest, lie down on your bed and hope that tomorrow will be better.

But deep inside, you know that tomorrow will be the same. Tomorrow is just another day wherein you will spend all your hours studying. Tomorrow is just another day that you need to endure.

Amidst all that happens to you, you must remember that you are not alone. You have thousands of Bar candidates feeling the same way. Accordingly, you are not alone in your journey as well. Remember that you have loved ones, friends, and colleagues who are willing to take the extra step in order to help you achieve your purpose.

For some, it’s a bad day. But that’s it. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life. Remember that you will become a lawyer sooner than you think. Keep the faith and trust the process. This too shall pass.

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