By: Archiebald Faller- Capila
Last year, we were shocked by the health crisis that struck every facet of living there is. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every person there is and their respective works and means of living as well. Lockdowns were implemented, various restrictions were employed, several laws, orders, and ordinances trying to address the pandemic were enforced as well. Last year will always be remembered as the year that changed the world forever.
The said scarcity in several factors has hampered every profession known to man. Accordingly, the legal profession itself is not spared from its wrath. What used to be the traditional paper-and-appearance approach was changed and eventually digitalized because of the current pandemic. Court proceedings, legal actions, conducts of business, and even the study of law are all digitalized in the hopes of adapting to the current situation we are all in.
More than a year ago, law schools have launched several programs which heavily rely on online platforms so as to continue their respective semesters. They experimented on several means in order to fortify their push for online classes which proved to be effective for some schools. While there are still external factors such as the absence of internet connection, rotational blackouts, and logistics pertaining to the gadgets used, some law schools are able to survive a semester or two while pushing for online classes.
Accordingly, the current academic year was embraced with high hopes that everything will turn out better. Given that it has already been a year since the first lockdown was imposed, people from the law community expected that any time soon, we will be having onsite classes back. People expected that they will finally meet in person their professors, their classmates, and their friends whom they have not seen since last year. They expected that they will finally experience again the beauty of learning the law the traditional way—through onsite recitations, discussions, and exams.
However, we have all been led to a different reality.
Lately, we have experienced an unprecedented rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. People from all over the nation have been shocked as to the news pertaining to the worsening condition of the state. Variants of the said virus are being discovered. There is a slow vaccine rollout which seems to prolong the pandemic. Lockdowns are being implemented once again because of the conditions we are a part of. Several measures are being observed on how to mitigate the said crisis. Indeed, the same feels like it is 2020 all over again.
However, the statement that this year is a repetition of last year seems like an understatement—a lie we tell ourselves in order to feel better. We all know that this is not a repetition of what transpired last year. This is in fact a worse version of what we all experienced last 2020.
Last year, we were caught off-guard as to what hit us. This year, we had the time to prepare and advance measures in order to combat the pandemic. However, the same is to no avail because of different factors involved. Whether it be funding or plans, we have failed to minimize the spread and we only made it worse to be quite frank.
What’s worse is that because the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched so far as to its affecting measures, law students are not spared from the same. How many law students who are your friends contracted the said virus? How many family members have caught the same? How many died? How many are in critical condition? How many lives you personally know are gravely affected by the worsening status of the pandemic?
There is only one answer—a lot.
While some of you are lucky and blessed to have not contracted the said virus, there are friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances who are struggling because of the effect of the pandemic. Today’s crisis is not only experienced by a select few. It is experienced by each and every person in the room including you.
Because of what is happening, we are all gravely affected by the same. Our habits are changing. Our reading prowess diminishes. Our capacity to memorize is slowing. Our ability to understand the topics assigned is deteriorating. We are no longer the energetic persons we used to be. We left our past selves in 2019, and we can no longer find them today because of the current setting we are in right now.
Aside from these, logistics remain to be a big problem. One year of online classes has taken a toll on our gadgets. Our laptops are slowing down. They can no longer perform effectively while using multiple tabs. Our phones are slowly dying. The overuse of the same is affecting battery life and storage which eventually creates a slow performance during classes. Our internet connection remains unstable. While some areas provide great connectivity to the internet, there are still law students who live in far-flung areas such as remote provinces and municipalities. Their internet connection is not as strong as others. Accordingly, occasional and rotational blackouts affect some students as well.
There are many factors that affect the study of law in today’s time. The worsening condition of the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic only hurts our chances of being able to study. There is literally chaos everywhere. On whatever news platform or websites you look at, there will always be bad news about what is happening to the world because of the health crisis.
Accordingly, the same has taken a toll not only with respect to our methods in studying law but to other personal circumstances as well. The mental health of law students is gravely affected by the pandemic. These people have lost a lot in this health crisis and it will only go south from here on out. Social interaction is seemingly becoming a thing in the past. Human interaction is direly missed. Everything that has to do with the well-being of students is gravely affected.
We do not know what a friend or a classmate is going through right now because of this crisis. In this worsening pandemic, may we all be reminded to show compassion to all the people we know. A little show of love won’t hurt. A reminder that you are there for your friends is already a big help. An act of showing they are not alone could change the very tone of the person gravely affected by the crisis. We must remember to be compassionate with one another. We must always be reminded that a random act of kindness during this pandemic is already a beacon of hope. The worsening pandemic is a reminder that no life is guaranteed to be safe. We must treasure our life, the life of our families, the life of our friends, and the life of everyone we know and care about.
While the study of law is important in itself because it serves as the pillars of our life-long dreams, we must remember as well that our well-being is important. The current state of the nation does not help our cause and dreams to become a lawyer. However, we must be able to push through with our respective goals so as to help our loved ones rise above the challenge of surviving the pandemic.
Let us all help each other become better persons during these trying times. The worsening pandemic is not an invitation to become bad people. It is a reminder that at the end of the day, we need to do our personal parts in combatting the crisis and along the way, be better persons for others as well.
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