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Being the “Gifted Child” in Law School

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

By Archiebald Faller Capila

There was a time, not so long ago when you never set foot in law school and you never saw yourself as an aspiring lawyer.

Take a stroll down memory lane. Before the stress of reading and analyzing several cases and before you ever craved for the idea that one day, you will be a member of the legal profession, you were just a kid who did not know what to become but was great at doing things nonetheless. There was a time, not so long ago, when you were in fact at the top of your class—the cream of the crop, and everyone loved you for doing what you do best. You were a great achiever.

During your primary years, you were dubbed as a “gifted child.” Your brilliance was unmatched. You were the kid whom your relatives had high hopes for. You aced your academic life each and every time you had the opportunity to do so. You were on the honor roll every single time the grades went out. You had an exemplary knack for tailoring words. You were very good at memorization. You were above your peers in speech and communication. You were very active in extra-curricular activities. You always brought home the bacon. You could build an entire room solely with your medals as foundations. You were the greatest even at such an early stage.

Maybe it was because of your talent. You were born with a certain gift that makes you excel in whatever activity you choose. Because of your performance in school, a lot of teachers and classmates see you as a man or a woman who will eventually become accomplished in the future. Some say you are going to be a great teacher. Some say you are going to be a great engineer. Some say you are going to be a great doctor. Some say you are going to be a great lawyer.

And you listen to them. You relish the fact that people look up to you because you thrive in several academic and extra-curricular activities. You tell yourself that, maybe, you are indeed destined for something great. You then prepare yourself for a journey you believe will eventually maximize your gifts.

In high school, things change a little. Compared to your primary years, you then become more aware of what you can do and how to channel the same into more specific activities. Because high school now offers a more diverse activity plan for its students, you then choose what to focus on and eventually sharpen your skills in the process.

In such a time, you are now more aware of what you can do. Along with such clarity, you now know what you want in the near future as well. People say that you are a gifted student because of your specific set of skills. You then try this out and become more confident about what you could do.

You continue to breeze through the honor roll. In the process, you are now more exposed to different activities which are advanced. You now have more competition as well and you accept the same as a challenge. You become more and more aware that the longer you stay in school, the better you become. In such a process, you see yourself as an overachiever even at such a young age. You tell yourself that you are being prepared for great things to come. You tell yourself that you cannot wait to step into the world of undergraduate studies and eventually Fastrack your dream of becoming a professional.

Of course, the time comes when you earn that white toga and celebrate the good things in life. You got accepted at your dream schools. You ask your relatives what school would be best for your long-term plans. You research several articles that could prepare you to become the best version of yourself. You still have with you the inspiration to be great. You think you can do it all because you are you—the great achiever you always knew.

And after being firm with your chosen course and your chosen school, you start to thrive along the way. You meet new friends who also share the same stories. Hailing from the outskirts of the country, proving their worth in the concrete jungle, and eventually creating a case that you will eventually get what you desire in the process. You impress your classmates with great confidence. Your professors smile at your demeanor. Your family becomes more proud of the things you do and how you are doing it.

You go home bearing the good news—you graduate with Latin Honors attached to your chest and consider this as the start of your journey in further studies. You believe that there is a prophecy to be fulfilled. You believe that you are in fact destined for greatness. You think that because you have sustained this great run in the process, you will eventually carry it out in whatever dream of further studies you have in mind. You gather your emotions and channel it to one goal and one goal alone—to become a lawyer because you were made to believe that you will be a great one someday.

And you do not waste any time. You venture towards your ultimate goal of becoming a member of the legal profession. Right out of your graduation, you take the necessary steps in applying for law school. You then meet some old friends trying to become the same as well. In the process, with high hopes, you tell yourself “this too shall be a breeze.”

You are wrong.

In the first few weeks, you question yourself on what is happening, You become so shocked that you cannot reach a certain level. You are failing, You failed. You keep on failing and you will fail again. It is as if a bullet trait keeps on hitting you every time. You do not know what is happening because for the first time in your life, you are crumbling to the ground.

You get shocked as to how law school is conducted. You are given kilometric reading assignments. You are required to read cases, books, and annotations all at the same time. You need to memorize codal provisions as well. You cannot even reach a simple 75 in a recitation or a quiz. You cannot move forward in a topic because everything seems so foreign to you.

And then it hits you—it hits you real hard.

Maybe you are not really a gifted child. Maybe it was just certain circumstances that led you to believe that you can. Maybe it was just a form of encouragement so as to give you hope that you can do good in the process. Maybe it was just because you were driven by dreams and motivated by words, and those are the only reasons why you excelled before you entered law school.

Being a “gifted child” in law school is indeed a curse. Law school is and will always be a reality check to everyone who thinks that they are great. Law school humbles each student to the extent that they would believe from time to time that the study is not for them. Law school is a reminder that law professors do not care who you are or who you were back in the day. For them, what matters most is the integrity of teaching the law the right way. And if you cannot take the heat, you are very much welcome to leave.

Law school is one of the few reminders that we need introspection. It is not every time that we are the best. There are and will always be persons better than us. There will always be a time when we are reminded that we need to work hard for our dreams and the same would not be served on a silver platter. We have to go through hell in order to become the lawyers we dreamed of becoming when we were just kids who did not know any better.

But for what it’s worth, we must be reminded that while we may not be the brightest in the room, we could be the most hard-working. We must be reminded that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Yes, you may not be the gifted child you were made to believe. But you can be someone else—you can be someone better. You can be the man or woman who defied all odds and eventually became a lawyer because of hard work and perseverance.

To all those kids who may relate to this, may you be reminded that you are still special in your own little ways. May you be encouraged to move forward and eventually reach for your dreams in the process. May you become the lawyers you dream to be in the near future.

Never give up. This is just the beginning. You will become a lawyer not because of your “gifts” but because of your drive to do better. Good luck to you, future lawyers!

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Oct 15, 2021


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