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Failing in Law School

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

There was a time, not so long ago, when you dreamed of becoming a lawyer. In your high school or college days, you would fancy yourself studying several aspects of the legal profession and eventually enjoying law school.

It was not too long ago when you planned everything—talked to some friends and relatives on what law school is the best and most realistic to enter and eventually prepared for their entrance exam. You scheduled everything perfectly knowing that it is the first step to achieving in full your dreams of becoming a lawyer.

Accordingly, after weeks and months of preparation and examinations, you are finally admitted to the school you want to study law in. You tell your family and friends the good news. You jump in joy because finally, you are a law student. You meet new friends during the enrolment period and the school’s orientation. You can finally be called a future lawyer.

Big dreams come with it big expectations. You breezed through high school and eventually passed through your undergraduate days with ease or with relevant efforts. You thought that law school will just be another chapter of your journey in becoming one of the renowned lawyers in the country. While you heard the stories that law school is hard, you brushed the same as if it is not that relevant. You kept telling yourself that you are equipped with the proper brilliance and work ethic that you will eventually succeed in the study of law.

You even had a vision for yourself. You said that after four years in law school, you will review for the Bar, take a job as an underbar in a firm or in a government office, wait for the results, and eventually become a lawyer. You then plan on what field of law you are going to practice and dream of the life you will have once you finally sign the Roll and take your Oath. Indeed, it is a beautiful dream that all starts in passing your entrance exam in law school.

However, as narrated by time and experience, you eventually see the gruesome reality of it all. In your first few days and first few weeks, you become so shocked that you no longer know what to do. Kilometric reading assignments are relayed through your beadles per subject. The expectation on the know-how of the law is required by every professor. Deeper analysis and understanding of jurisprudence and annotations are always called for.

In just a short span of time, you breakdown and eventually get stuck. It seems that you have hit rock bottom even at just an early stage of law school. And what’s worse than this is the fact that it won’t get better any time soon—you already know that this is just the start of your worst nightmare.

Law school is and will always be an incarnation of pain and regret. There is pain in seeing yourself performing so low that you can’t get a grasp on what you are really doing and how to do it all at the same time. There is regret because you think you could have had a better life if you did not pursue law in the first place, With all your friends and colleagues thriving in their respective careers, you can’t help but imagine how different it could have been for you if you did not engage in the study of law.

Everything seems to be at a free fall at this point. Everything has gone south. You cannot persuade your professor that you studied for the subject. You cannot recall the several codal provisions you have read and memorized the night before. You come up short in explaining the whole issue and ratio decidendi of the case assigned to you. You always have a mental block in answering the exams because you have studied a lot the night before which leads to an information overload.

In short, you have failed. You have failed in law school.

Whether it be failing marks in recitations, failing marks in short quizzes, failing marks in exams, and finally failing final grades, almost all (if not all) law students have experienced the same in their respective journeys. It is no surprise that failing in law school creates a certain toll on our bodies or a certain burden that we are required to carry. Failures change law students most of the time for the worse.

Confidence is eventually eradicated. Will to study is diminished. The sense of wanting to be a lawyer seemingly becomes senseless from time to time. With all that’s happening inside and outside law school, a law student often thinks about why he or she fails—or why he or she is experiencing the horrors and torture of law school.

Failing in law school is hard because you always think that maybe, the study and practice of law is not for you. Failing in law school is hard because you always think that you are not studious or brilliant enough to even talk about the law. Failing in law school is hard because you think that no matter what you do, there will always be a time when you will eventually fail and that you can’t get back from it because you are already destroyed from within.

All the positive energies when you were young and before you decided to enter law school are gone. Stress and thoughts of you not being good enough are what you are encountering right now. Do you really deserve to become a lawyer? Do you have what it takes to be an officer of the Courts? Do you think the legal profession will welcome you with open arms amidst the fact that you have failed several times and miserably in law school? All these questions are often left unanswered. All these questions break you all the same. All these questions lead to one that eventually sums your life as a law student—do you quit now?

The answer is no.

Failing in law school is a necessary hazard for all law students trying their ways to become a lawyer. Failing in law school is a part of the process. Failing in law school is a test on whether or not you can continue to remain strong and eventually claim what is rightfully yours—that title of becoming an Attorney.

Ask around the people around you who are currently lawyers or currently awaiting the chance to become lawyers but have surpassed law school. They will always have a story on how they failed a certain subject for a certain professor. They will always tell you about some ridiculous recitation or exam that they were a part of. They will share how they failed some aspects of law school—and look at them now. They surpassed the tests of law school. They persevered to finish their studies. They promised themselves that they will succeed one way or another—and they have done so with grace under pressure.

Failing in law school is a part of law school itself. We cannot deny the fact that law school is meant not only for the brilliant minds but for those who have in themselves the will to not give up in the midst of adversity. The profession of law requires the strongest of hearts and wills. And these aspects are already trained and sharpened in law school.

If you have in your records some failing marks, use the same as an inspiration to do better. Remember that everything you do, you do for the glory of the law. You once dreamed of becoming one of the best lawyers in the country. Do not let such failing marks hinder you from doing the same. You will become a lawyer no matter what happens. Just don’t give up now and continue to strive for your betterment not only as a law student but as a person in general.

Always tell yourself that you did not come this far only to come this far. You are meant for greater things ahead. You will eventually overcome the negative thoughts in your mind. However, the same could only be true if you first accept the fact that failure is a part of law school. All you need to do is learn from it. You need to accept the fact that you are meant for greater things and that a failing mark in law school is not a hindrance to the same.

Instead, treat it as a lesson. Treat it as if failure is part of the process. It is only then when you will realize that the journey is not over. Better yet, it is a part of the journey to becoming a lawyer.

So if you will be thinking of this again, remember those who have walked the path before you and listen to their stories. You will realize that you are not alone. You will realize that bigger things are in store for you.

You may fail in law school. That is acceptable. What is not is letting the same drag you and making you hit rock bottom. Learn from your mistakes and failures and become who you are destined to be—a lawyer of principles and a strong moral fabric.

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