Updated: Feb 18
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
Time management is one of the most common tips heard along the sacred halls of law school. Whether you ask an experienced law professor or a law student sifting through his or her subjects, the tip “manage your time wisely” can always be heard from them. Because of various subjects and various reading assignments due for the same, law students often lose track of how their respective days should go about. Hence, the tendency to cram and even ask for tips on how to create a personal time frame rises by the minute.
On average, a law student reportedly spends around 8 hours a day for studying. The rest of the day is broken down into timeslots allotted for class, rest, and other necessary activities to go about with the day. It is true that managing one’s time is more stressful than it may seem. Balancing law and life in itself is a daunting task that requires attention.
Working students are widely represented in all law schools in the country. They are often referred to as idols because of their strength in managing their time and balancing their lives amidst all the pressure they get from working and studying at the same time. And in such a group of students, only a few excel in their studies and in their respective works. However, in that small pool of gifted working students, there are some who stand tall and withstand the tests of time and stereotypes and elevate their games to a whole new level.
Mr. Robert Jhon C. Salazar is among the few people who experience the best of both worlds. He is a personification of how to balance law school life, extracurricular activities, and work all at the same time.
In an exclusive interview with Barrista Solutions, Mr. Salazar shares with us his life as a man with many trades. In which, he shares his life as a law student, as a high ranking official of their student council, and as a certified public accountant engaged in private work as well.
Barrista Solutions: You are currently the president of the Far Eastern University—Institute of Law’s Law Student Council. What propelled you to run for office amidst knowing that law school in itself already consumes a lot of time?
Mr. Salazar: While in law school, I want to learn not only the things which I can use to pass the bar examinations but also skills which I can utilize when I become a lawyer. I believe that through student organizations, one can learn practical skills. As a student council president, I lead a team that regularly communicates with students and school administrators. With this, I am able to develop the skill of professional communication which I can use in my future job as a lawyer.
Barrista Solutions: Aside from your venture as a student leader, you are currently working as well while studying law. How do you manage your time while doing a multitude of tasks?
Mr. Salazar: Honestly, I am not sure if I am able to manage all my tasks. Managing time for both work and school is a struggle I have been trying to survive since 2018. What I normally do to make each day more livable is to allocate time for work and study and make sure to stick to that schedule. I also make room for adjustments which depend on the necessities of work and volume of class assignments. I allocate at least eight hours for work and another eight hours for law school-related works.
Barrista Solutions: Being an academic scholar in your university, how do you manage expectations in handling all your works both as a student and as an accountant?
Mr. Salazar: My status as an academic scholar gives a lot of pressure and stress. This is because aside from maintaining my scholarship, I should also perform well at work. Otherwise, it may make an impression that I am getting good grades because I am prioritizing law school over work. In trying to balance and manage both worlds, I need to lessen time for sleep so I have more time at night for study; daytime is reserved for work.
Barrista Solutions: Who or what serves as your inspiration in finishing your studies any time in the near future?
Mr. Salazar: My family always supports me in everything that I do. Every time I see them happy with my accomplishments as a law student, I am energized and inspired to finish law school as soon as possible and eventually become a lawyer.
I am also excited to finish law school and become a lawyer so I can focus on my career as a CPA-Lawyer. I always daydream about a good career in the profession I chose to take and I can’t wait to fulfill my goals.
Barrista Solutions: During this time of a pandemic, how do you handle the additional stress and burden of not being able to leave home both for your work and your studies?
Mr. Salazar: I randomly chat family and friends in the wee hours sharing how my day went as a working law student. They usually share advice and assure me that I always have their support.
I also have the support of my brothers at the Tau Kappa Phi fraternity. I can say that one of the best decisions I made in law school is joining this brotherhood that always provides encouragement and emotional support.
Barrista Solutions: What other activities do you do in order to relax, knowing that you have a lot of work required to be accomplished under your watch?
Mr. Salazar: I have several hobbies. I watch any video on YouTube. I listen to songs. Sometimes, I watch movies. More likely during stressful nights, I drink alcoholic beverages. But the best way to relax is to sleep.
Barrista Solutions: What are your thoughts on the current reforms being implemented in our legal education, specifically the shift towards digital means for both law school setting and Bar examination purposes?
Mr. Salazar: While I recognize the need to adjust due to the pandemic, I still hope that we will resume the traditional classroom setting when things get to normal. Based on my online law school experience, I find it difficult to retain the lessons discussed by my professors on screen. I learn more when I personally interact with professors.
I think a regionalized proctored online bar examinations will be helpful for law graduates from provincial schools since they do not need to go to Manila to take the bar. Also, for examiners, it will be easier for them to check the exam papers since they will no longer need to deal with handwritten answers.
Barrista Solutions: For you, how can law students help improve the status of the legal profession?
Mr. Salazar: To improve the legal profession, I believe that students should not only learn the law but also look into the possibility of changing it if necessary to achieve social justice. As future lawyers, we should not only focus on what our laws say but we should also challenge them when needed.
Barrista Solutions: If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self who is about to enter law school, what would it be?
But my younger self would still insist because he was an adventurous boy who always loved to challenge himself.
Surprisingly, law school is a journey I am enjoying to survive.
Barrista Solutions: What is your message and tips to all law students—both working and full-time, who are hoping to graduate in their respective law schools?
I like to say “enjoy the journey” although I am still trying to find the best way to enjoy law school. So far, I love studying with my law school friends and fraternity brothers and drinking with them after examinations or whenever we feel we need buckets of beer. Life in law school is really challenging but having a strong support system really helps. It may be difficult to survive this journey but for sure it will be worth it in the end.
· Mr. Robert Jhon C. Salazar is a law student of Far Eastern University—Institute of Law wherein he serves as its Law Student Council President. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.