By: Archiebald Faller Capila
How does one become the perfect law student?
It is already common knowledge that being a law student is hard. While people around us kept telling us that law school will not be easy, we were never warned that law school will in fact be this hard. At first glance, we all thought that law school requires from its students memorization skills. However, that is not the case as always. Law school requires from its students the essence of understanding the law, how to apply it in certain situations, and how to correlate the with all the other legal bases available.
Indeed, it is hard being a law student. Pursuing a career in the legal profession comes with it the burden of enduring different kinds of pain. While the dream to become a lawyer stays alive inside us along the way, the intensity of pursuing the same sometimes wavers.
In a student’s pursuit of his or her preferred career, there are several sacrifices that we need to do. Before entering law school, we are but common students, common members of our families, common friends, and common people who can manage our time with ease.
Looking back at the not-so-distant past, we would all recall that we seemingly had a grip of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it before becoming a law student. We would be able to understand some lessons with ease. We would be able to find some spare time in order to enjoy the life of a college student or an employee of a certain job. We would have some resources that we could give or share with our loved ones.
In law school, while we are all struggling to become the lawyer we dreamed of since we were kids, we also see and witness some blockmates or friends who rise to the occasion. Law school is and will always be a field of opposites. In law school, we become witnesses to the people who, without any cloud of doubt, will become some of the brightest legal minds the country will ever see.
We see several candidates for the top spot on the Dean’s List. We become acquaintances of those who graduated with Latin honors in their undergraduate days. We befriend those who have activities beyond academics. We see other law students excel at what you are both doing. We see other law students become before our very eyes the next big thing in the country's legal landscape.
At times, we ask ourselves how they do it. In the pursuit of the law, we often doubt whether or not the profession is really for us. We doubt our capabilities to push forward. We question our respective methods of studying. We compare ourselves to those around us thinking about what we could do and how we could do it better in order to become the lawyers we dreamed of back when we were still children.
At times, you get tired of who you are. At times, you just want to be a perfect law student.
But it begs the question—what exactly is a perfect law student?
A perfect law student, for some, maybe one who never falters in class. While there may be some occasional missteps in some recitations or quizzes, a perfect law student still maintains his or her status as an elite. A perfect law student may always be on the Dean’s List—a candidate for Latin honors which is almost unheard of in law school. A perfect law student maybe the batch’s pride and honor—the student who is often called a “bar bet” and the student who we all know would eventually become an integral part of the legal system in the near future.
A perfect law student, for some, maybe one who maintains a great standing in terms of academic records while doing extracurricular activities on the side. A perfect law student may be the captain of the debate team of his or her school or the editor-in-chief of the law school journal or other official publication. He or she may be a student leader—the president even of the law student government or an officer of other accredited organizations like that of the legal aid center or the human rights desk. For some, these law students go beyond the scope of the school and engage in civic works or helping the underprivileged all while being at the top of their respective classes.
A perfect law student, for some, maybe one who perfectly balances his or her life. Aside from academic and legal engagements, a perfect law student still has the time to spend with his or her family, friends, and colleagues. A perfect law student, for some, always have the luxury of attending to matters outside his or her life in law school. Whether it be important events, simple hangouts, or occasional coffee dates, a perfect law student will be able to find time in his or her hectic calendar.
A perfect law student, for some, already has it all. He or she already has the luxury of time. Performing great in law school while doing all the other things outside of which is, what we call, a dream of becoming a perfect law student.
However, after all, we have been through and after all that we have witnessed, is there really such a thing as a perfect law student?
Perfection in law school is a myth. Perfection in the pursuit of law is a story we tell ourselves just to push our limits and eventually reach the bars we have personally set. There is no such thing as a perfect law student. There is no such thing as a perfect journey in law school.
There will always be external factors and circumstances which affect a student’s journey. It is not every day that a law student succeeds in his or her tasks. It is not every day that he or she has time for personal stuff. It is not every day that law students understand what is at stake and what things are needed to be done in order to become future officers of the Court.
The study and practice of law is and will always be journeys that carry with them certain burdens. It is a fact that nobody escapes this venture unscathed. Every law student has to deal with certain problems. Every law student has to deal with the fact that they must first experience firsthand the rigors and perils of law school before they become lawyers in the near future.
A perfect law student exists in our imagination because we see ourselves that way. We think of the things that we could do and the greatness we can accomplish if and when we become perfect. However, the perfect law student stays only as—an imagination.
Nobody will ever tell you the whole truth, but those who you idolize and look up to have their own personal problems as well. They have to deal with certain circumstances that the public does not know about.
However, while there is no such thing as perfection in the legal world, we could try our best nonetheless—and it is more than enough. Instead of trying to become the perfect law student, we must instead try to become good students who prioritize our purpose. The study of law is a privilege that needs to be utilized properly.
The study of law can never be perfect, but it can be full of lessons along the way. We must all be reminded that we must, to the very best of our abilities, try to become role models for other people.
Do not waste your time comparing your life to others. Instead, focus on yourself to become a better member of the legal profession and a better member of the community in general. We may not be perfect, but we can be the best versions of ourselves. We must all put into mind that the profession is not for us but for other people first and foremost.
Do not aim for perfection. Do not try to dodge challenges. Instead, embrace all that is happening and try to figure things out. Remember that you are and you have always been destined to become a lawyer. The lessons you pick along the way are necessary in order to achieve the great things in store for you in the near future.
Good luck, future lawyers. We are with you all the way.