Updated: Feb 18
By. Archiebald Faller Capila
Nearly two months into the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) all over Luzon, the country has never been the same. From isolated streets to homes made warm because of the presence of multiple family members, we have now become a part of a new narrative. We now have become a part of the new normal.
It has been a rollercoaster of sorts, to be frank. At one point, you may feel bliss over a simple family lunch or dinner because it has been a while since you last had a meal together. However, after quite a time, you may feel the stress of your work or your studies because of the current set-up—alone and without any colleague to personally talk to. It is safe to say however that what you are feeling is valid. It is safe to say that it is all part of coping with the new trend.
We are all entering a new phase—we are entering a stage where all we could do is stay home and hope that this pandemic does not worsen. However, amidst all these, we are still obliged to do our part. Aside from staying put in our respective houses, we must continue to do our daily lives and perform our tasks, whether it be related to work or studies.
On the part of students all over the country, the current set-up is a head-scratcher. There lies a multitude of factors that affect the productivity of students. The lack of reading materials brought to the respective provinces, the slow internet connection, and the stress on what online exams and quizzes bring are only some of the typical problems a student encounters during these days. But like any other circumstance, it is never a vacuum of facts. Like any other story, we have our ways of telling our perspectives.
For me, I have lost track of time. The day the suspension of classes all over Metro Manila was announced, I was in the library studying for my first midterm exam of the second semester. I was with my friends discussing some of our assigned topics when Mayor Isko Moreno went live and announced the week-long suspension.
At first I was hesitant. Could it be this bad? Could the COVID-19 be that life-threatening that the capital of the country decided to suspend classes? I knew little about the growing pandemic. I was too pre-occupied with dealing with my subjects—those which I needed to study hard for. After quite a time, I received a call from my parents and they instructed me to go home to which I obliged.
And then, lo and behold, the ECQ came to place. Days and weeks passed since I last got a glimpse of what the outside world looks like. I have lost track of time indeed. The only indicator of time I have is when my mom or my younger siblings wake me up to have our daily lunch. My body clock has been all kinds of messed up for the past few weeks. However, amidst all these, I try to do my part and continue the life I left behind Manila—continue the life of a law student amidst the lockdown.
It has been a challenge for me. Staying home in a suburban municipality, I am currently having trouble concerning the submission of school works. Because of the slow internet connection and the lack of reading materials available here in the province, I have become unproductive at most times.
At first, I could not cope. I had a hard time responding to messages and emails from my classmates. I had a hard time downloading the available reading materials online. I had a hard time studying virtual notes because I have been accustomed to printing them before reading. But given the situation today, because of the current lockdown and the lack of printing materials at home, I needed to adjust.
I thought I was the only one experiencing such hardships. But in the long run, I saw most of my friends and schoolmates airing out their frustrations in social media as well. At times like these, it can be said that every student is a victim of the current set-up. Every student is having a hard time keeping up with how the academic approach is shifting.
But as law students and future officers of the court, we are required to find ways to adapt. And the legal community, understanding the plight of its future members, understand the same as well. Except for submitting academic requirements, the legal community has offered a lending hand to all law students in the country.
Through online platforms, different law professors and practitioners now conduct several online lectures for their respective fields of expertise. Hosted by different law student support groups and even online associations of law students, different legal luminaries are invited to discuss relevant legal matters online. Through Facebook Live, some YouTube channels, or even through Zoom conferences, these lawyers can convey their discussions to a handful of students even though they are from different parts of the country.
Also, some lawyers decide to compile their respective lectures and transcribe them for further dissemination. Aside from their lectures, these lawyers also compare and contrast newly revised or amended laws in the form of a matrix so that law students can be updated from the changes in the legal sphere.
While some may view the same as minimal efforts, these are of big help to those who still need visual and auditory factors to maximize their studying capability. These lectures and discussions form part of an integrated learning system which may be a normal means of teaching soon.
The study of law at this time of lockdown, however, is not without flaws. Not all students have access to quality internet connection. Not all students have the luxury of accessing various online platforms. Not all students are amenable to change. Given all the said circumstances, we could only hope for better days to come.
Everything that is happening around is just part of the beginning. Indeed, we are still hoping that everything would eventually go back to the way it was before the pandemic. However, we must still be open to accepting the fact that this is the new normal. The situation today has shown us ways on how we could survive the study of law one day after the other. Soon, if and when this pandemic should pass, we must now find ways to improve other means of surviving as well. The different platforms and avenues offer a wider chance to be of help to students if the latter will be able to access the same.
We must all push through for inclusive learning for all law students. We must find ways on how to better improve and access the quality of legal education even after this current lockdown is lifted.