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Life after the Bar Exams

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

by: Sunshine Mendoza

To say that taking the bar takes up too much of your energy and time would be a grave understatement. Because it doesn't only consume your energy and time, it takes over your entire existence--- your life!

So what happens next after the chaos settles flat? The waiting game, of course. I am not a huge fan of waiting, much more if it means waiting on your future to unfold or your dreams to reel out.

We've compiled a list of things that can preoccupy you or make up for all the adventures you've been missing out on all this time. Yes, we're laying out your life after the bar. You're welcome.

Rock climbing

Extreme pressure, hard work, and study deserve an equally extreme adventure fix. Don't get intimidated by the word "extreme" though. With an experienced guide/mentor, trusty equipment, fun company to cheer you on, and a bold determination, rock climbing has its clever ways to surprise yourself.

It doesn't matter if you're scared of heights. Oh wait, it does. But when you conquer that fear, I'm warning you, the feeling can be pretty addictive. Yes, sometimes---and contrary to popular expectation--- rock climbing can be more mental than physical. When it comes down (or up) to just you and that wall of rock, you can count on your mental focus to shush that inner demon telling you can't do it. Physical strength and working your whole body are, of course, a plus when you climb.

If you wish to keep it down a notch, you can do wall climbing, too. Although, there's nothing like the feeling of natural rocks and the breathtaking scene that awaits you on top when you're climbing outdoors.

Visit their website for a list of local climbing gyms and nearby crags.


Remember that game you used to play with your playmates in the pool or at the beach when you hold your breath underwater? Turns out, there are so much fun and science to it than a mere child's play. If you're a mermaid reincarnated and is naturally drawn to the wonders of the underwater world, then, you should give freediving a go.

Unlike scuba diving, freediving only requires fins, mask and a dive buddy. Yes, this is freediving's number one non-negotiable, unbendable, by-hook-or-by-crook rule: never (ever!) dive alone.

As much as freediving is a sport that may appear to require you to be fairly fit, it's fundamentally based on relaxation. Most sports require you to break a sweat and muscle your way to victory, freediving needs you to be calm and serene.

An introduction to freediving sessions typically composes 2 hours of theory lecture, basic relaxation technique, dry equalization and two hours open water immersion. It costs around P1,500-2000 pesos.

If you wish to inquire, you can send this page a private message on their Facebook Page. If you're from Luzon or Mindanao, they can give you recommendations, too.


As someone living in an archipelago, it's almost impossible for Filipinos to run out of watersport to explore and try. In recent years, surfing has earned a place on every adventure-seeker heart's bucket list. And with the help of local airlines offering cheap flights, they make it easy for everyone to visit the country's surfing hot spots. It'll be a shame not to experience the feeling of getting stoked after riding a wave.

As exciting as standing on a surfboard seems, the idea can be intimidating especially if you're a first-timer. But before taking on the actual waves, you will learn the basic moves on land with your instructor---specifically, the paddle to pop up combo. You will get to practice this on the sand and after a few repetitions, muscle memory should get you through your first ride.

You'll surely feel sore in places you've never imagined existed and you might even get frustrated at times when you get wiped out but all of it will be washed over by an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and fun. You might even find yourself grinning uncontrollably after. Something you shouldn't worry about, that's just a telltale sign you had a great time--- too much of it.

Mastering Yoga Pose


This may be the most laid-back activity on this list, yet the most dynamic as it is physical as much as it is mental and sometimes, spiritual. Please don't get caught up by the flashy handstands or pretzel-like poses you see posted on Instagram. Trust me, being strong, bendy and flexible are NOT prerequisites to yoga. With commitment and consistency, these are what you will become with yoga. (But yoga benefits can go beyond the mat, too.)

This is probably one of the first things you should remember when you want to do yoga: don't take your ego on the mat, leave it at the door where it belongs. Yoga is not a competition or a race. Lock your inhibitions, self-doubt, and judgment up somewhere. If you need to take a rest, feel free to do so. If you need to modify a pose or if you can't perfect a pose, no one will crucify you for it. Practicing yoga will teach you to listen to your body and respect its boundaries and limitations.

Focus on the present moment. Connect with your breathing. These are the phrases you will always hear from your yoga teachers. And after an invigorating and relaxing practice, you will realize why.

Mastering Jiu-Jitsu Pose
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The effort and sweat you've poured in prepping for the bar exam should be just as impassioned in getting yourself battle proof for your future as a lawyer. And I don't mean life insurance. I meant something more physical and nifty such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You'll never know when basic self-defense skills could come in handy with your profession and please, that's not meant to scare you.

According to Wikipedia, "BJJ is founded on the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, heavier opponent by using technique, leverage, and most notably, taking the fight to the ground, and then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent".

Okay, that may come off too macho. But no need to get intimidated. Most people I know got better at doing something they first thought was unthinkable by simply pushing past that menacing idea that they could not do it or they don't fit in. Besides, the community of BJJ or most gyms are friendly and hospitable. Everyone would be willing to help you get better at it. There will always be a special session for beginners and I heard some gyms even offer free trials!

No matter where you are, you will always have a place in your local jiu-jitsu gym. Go, get rollin'!

Travel. Alone.

Fear is a normal reaction when you plan to go to unchartered territory. It gets even terrifying at the thought of doing it ALONE. When you take that bold leap into the unknown and get past that sneaky fear, there's so much experience, learnings and most of all, fun to last you a lifetime in traveling alone.

Reality is, you truly are never alone when traveling. You will be surprised at how many people you will meet and connect with when you go to places. People from different walks of life--- locals and tourists alike and travelers who, same as you, decided to expand their comfort zone. Take this opportunity to talk to them, get tips or advice, and make friends! You may have a guidebook but there's no better guide than your fellow travelers or the locals.

Traveling solo can give you a chance to do whatever you want. It's always safe to have a to-do-list and itinerary but what's the fun in being timeline-dependent? All you have is yourself, be spontaneous. Don't stress over schedules. Be unbridled and flexible. Travel slow and go with the flow.

Remember when they say freedom is not absolute? Well, traveling alone comes close.

Have a short break
Travel. Alone.

Learn a new skill

Whoever said you can't teach old dogs new tricks must have been too irresolute and weary to even start learning. Or simply, just gave up before even trying.

Acquiring a new skill could be helpful to pass up the time or de-stress from our daily grind.

If you have an appetite for food (who doesn't?) or to be behind the kitchen action, you should consider taking up short cooking classes. With the popularity of Gordon Ramsey and cooking reality tv shows, the penchant for cooking has piqued the interest of a lot of people. In the past years, culinary academies also proliferated. Becoming a kitchen connoisseur has never been this accessible in this age.

If you are into music and have a soft spot for playing instruments but just did not have the chance to chase it, this free time could be the perfect opportunity to finally unleash your musical prowess. Ukulele, piano, drums, bass, guitar are among the easiest to learn as an adult. Or if you are more adept at culture, learning to play the Philippines' traditional musical instruments could be a uniquely cool skill to learn, too.

This may never be an easy venture but it could be fun and utterly rewarding.

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