Updated: Sep 24, 2020
By: Atty. Jez Charlemagne Arago
I looked at my wristwatch; it was 11:40 am. I said to myself, “Maybe the en banc session is already done. The results will be out soon. Whatever the result is, I know I can handle it.”
I was sitting on the couch in our office, trying to look calm while waiting for the results. My office mates did not know that I took the Bar, so it was hard for me to pretend that I was focused on my work. I won’t be sitting on the couch if I was not distracted, I will be at my desk.
At 11:44 am, my phone rang. It was Cla. Cla is always the first person to call our friends to bring the good news so when I saw her name on the screen; I asked myself, “Did I make it?” I took her call to get an answer to that question. The first words she said were, “Congratulations, Atty. Arago”. And I asked her, “Totoo? Out na ‘yung results?” She said yes and assured me that I passed the Bar. That was a very short phone call, but that phone call changed my life.
Thrilled, I told my office mates that I am already a lawyer. They were all shocked as they just asked me a few days before if I already took the Bar. I only told them that I took the 2018 Bar and I failed.
But despite the news, I still wanted to see my name on the list to make sure that it is real. At 11:45, my friend Armi sent me a text message, congratulating me followed by a photo with the title “LIST OF SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES (Continuation)”. I saw my name. Then Cla sent me a photo with the Supreme Court letterhead and a message saying that my name is on the second page. It is real. I am now a lawyer.
All this time, I thought that I will cry once I learn that I make it to the Bar because that’s what I always do when I read other people’s Bar stories. But I did not. I just smile, jump, and celebrate.
I then received a lot of text messages and phone calls from family members and friends. People started coming to our office to congratulate me. Sas, my officemate and friend from San Beda, and one of the few people who knew that I took the Bar, even brought wine to our office. She was ready for the results because according to her, she was sure that I would pass the Bar.
I spent the whole lunch break saying “thank you” and “abogado na ako/tayo” to everyone who sent me a message or called me. I woke up the next day with a smile on my face knowing that I tore down one of the strongest walls in my life that prevents me from moving forward.
Learning that I passed the Bar is the happiest day of my life, so far.
Before the results
Days, weeks, and months before the results came out were not easy. There were days when I'd suddenly remember my wrong answers or days when I'd wonder if I wrote the right words in my booklet. I am a re-taker, so the waiting game is harder for me. I sometimes ask myself, “What if I fail again? What will happen to me?”
Whenever I meet new people and they learn that I am a law graduate, they always ask me if I already took the Bar. If it was 2019, I would proudly say that I took the 2018 Bar and that I would make it. But it is 2020 and I took the Bar for the second time in 2019, an experience I never thought would happen after leaving the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on the fourth Sunday of November in 2018.
So, I would just always tell people that I took the 2018 Bar and did not make it. It is not that I am ashamed of retaking the Bar. I am not. But I do not want to feel the same pressure I felt when I took the 2018 Bar. If people know that I took the Bar they would always ask when the results would be released. I do not want to hear the same question again for almost every day until the results are out so, I just kept quiet about it.
This time might not be the best time to celebrate due to the pandemic. Most people do not have a choice but to stay indoors to help prevent the spread of the virus. Only essential workers are allowed to go out to give the basic services. I am one of those essential workers as I work for the government agency which procures supplies and equipment to fight the COVID-19.
It was hard for me to go out every day to work knowing that a disease is spreading and killing people. But looking back, I realized that going to work every day while others stay at home helped me take my mind off the results. I was always busy and I go home tired that there is no time for me to feel anxious. It helped me not worry about the results and just trust the universe that I can make it while doing what I am supposed to do.
It has been days since the results came out but I still get kilig every time I think that I am now a lawyer. I smile for no reason whenever it crosses my mind that my dream is now a reality. Hearing people call me attorney is music to my ears and I do not know if I will ever get used to it. I think it has not sunk in yet. I do not know when it will sink in. But one thing is for sure: from the day that list was released until my last breath, I will live by the Lawyer's Oath.