By: Archiebald Faller Capila
More often than not, law students dream of only one thing and one thing alone—to top the Bar exams and eventually become an expert in the field they will choose thereafter.
Almost every law student is gifted with the capability to dream big and work hard for the same. During their childhood days, these eventual law students would fancy themselves in suits and corporate attires, gracing the halls of Justice and eventually becoming a well-known legal figure not only in their towns but in the whole country as well.
Some would even dream of bigger things like becoming an appointed or elected official, an esteemed member of the Judiciary, or even a high-ranking corporate officer in a private institution or firm. They would see themselves as people on top of the world—ready to conquer the legal profession by storm no matter what.
During their high school or undergraduate days, these eventual students of the law would imagine themselves as great practitioners and well-versed individuals when it comes to the practice of their chosen profession. They would skim through profiles and stories of Bar topnotchers and well-known legal figures and hope that one day, they will eventually take their place.
Indeed, the dream to become a lawyer comes with it colorful imagery on how the practice of law works. Students of the law always imagine themselves to be great contributors to change and prestige. They always look forward to becoming great individuals when we talk about the important people behind the practice of the legal profession.
However, these things change the moment a student enters law school.
In is without a doubt that law school is a different animal. It is well-settled that law school is like a walk in the park. However, that park turns out to be Jurassic Park. All the things you thought you knew are thrown out and made useless.
Law school is a place wherein your latin honors are disregarded, your positions in various works are discredited, and your achievements in your past life are made worthless. In law school, students are treated equally regardless of where you come from. No one ever really has a headstart in law school. Everyone is expected to be at par with one another. Everyone is just as good compared to the other students.
Accordingly, that dream of passing and eventually topping the Bar comes to a halt. Such dream becomes more realistic. The moment one enters his or her first year in law school, he or she now dreams of just surviving the first year of studies. That dream narrows down to just passing all your subjects for the semester. In the long run, that dream turns out to be a wish to pass the subject for the day or not be called for recitations.
It is simple to some, but important to most law students. In law school, time goes by so slow that everything seems to be an endless loop of torture. From reading and memorizing kilometric codal provisions, understanding several pages of annotations, and applying all these concepts into the assigned cases, law students suffer a lot when it comes to pursuing their respective dreams of becoming a Juris Doctor.
Indeed, some students quit in the first few weeks or months of law school. Some decide to take a break after taking a beating of one or two semesters. While some take a leave of absence, some drop out and never come back.
The hundreds of names in the list eligible for enrollment will slowly reduce itself into a few names eventually eligible for the next semester. Indeed, it is worse than a filtering apparatus that separates those who want it and those who want it more.
However, at the end of the day, some students stand tall and proud waiting for a miracle or two. They continue to develop their capabilities in order to cope with law school. They try their very best in order to finish strong and eventually reach the goal of getting a chance at the Bar exams.
And then it happens.
After all the sacrifices and hard work, some students will eventually realize that they passed all the necessary subjects in order to finish law school. Finally, they are eligible for graduation. Finally, they can be called Juris Doctors.
Graduating from law school is a different feeling. It is a testament to how you worked hard and how you beat all the odds. It is proof that you have finally fought and defeated your demons. You have worked your way all to the top and eventually worked hard to claim your prize.
You are now a Juris Doctor.
There is a feeling that you cannot fully describe. You are happy because you finally achieved your life-long dream of graduating from law school and showing the world what you are capable of. You are sad because you feel like there is still a lot of things to be learned and because of the fact that some of your friends and acquaintances will not be joining you at the graduation. You feel excited because your families and loved ones now have under their belt the achievement of supporting a Juris Doctor. You feel pressured because a few months from now, you will be taking the Bar examination which is the ultimate test on whether or not you are fit to become a lawyer.
Graduating from law school is a melting pot of emotions. You cannot pinpoint with accuracy and precision what you feel because you have gone through a lot of things already. But one thing is clear and for sure—you are a Juris Doctor and nobody can take that away from you.
However, the question “what now?” comes next. What will you do in order to prepare for the Bar? What materials will you use? What review center will you enroll in? What will be your study schedule? Who will you contact in case you are in doubt of some matters related to the Bar? The list of these kinds of questions goes on and on and the same will never end.
Piece of advice? Breathe and relax.
First, savor the moment. You are now a Juris Doctor. Not everyone has the ability or privilege to say that they graduated from law school and that they have a chance to become great lawyers in the near future. Appreciate all the hard work you have done. Celebrate your perseverance. Go on and be proud of the things you have accomplished in your lengthy stay in law school.
You have conquered the world with your wits and perseverance. You will conquer the next challenge any time soon.
For now, give yourself the time to appreciate the achievement you have made—a feat not achievable by most people.
To all our recent graduates, congratulations. May you all be guided with the strength and wisdom to continue to be great. May you all remember your purpose along the way and continue to become an instrument of hope and a catalyst of change. May you always keep the faith, trust the process, and carry on.
Good luck on the next part of your journey, future lawyers! For now, enjoy this life and enjoy the achievements that come along with it.
Congratulations, paneros and paneras!