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To my good friends in law school

By: Archiebald Faller Capila

Dear classmate,

I hope you're doing well. I have lost count of the days since we last met. The situation today has made me all rusty when it comes to memory work. The current health crisis has made me lose my sense of time, as well as my sense of hope in the days to come.

Lately, I have become forgetful. The last days of onsite classes have now become a blur to me. I can no longer recall clearly what transpired during the first day of the announcement of the suspension of classes. It’s been more than a year already. It’s either my senses are failing or the pandemic has really taken a toll in our daily lives as students and members of our respective families.

I can't even remember what I had for lunch. I don't even know what I will have for dinner. Long story short, I am a little bit lost in my own comfort zone. I am lost in my own room. I am lost in my own personal space. I am feeling this burden of trying to survive one day at a time even though the circumstances surrounding the situation seemingly lead to a free fall.

One thing is for sure—because of the health crisis and the need to adapt, you are struggling as well on how you could manage your time in studying and at the same time developing or prioritizing your well-being. I am not sure how you are dealing with your respective subjects, but what I do know is I am at the brink of despair just to be able to survive the academic year.

As of this moment, I'm struggling to finish a page of my supposed reading assignment. It's been days since I have been productive. It's been weeks since I have done something worth noting. I think it's been a month since I last felt the urge to be at par with my own standards. Accordingly, it has been more than a year since I last felt alive. It’s been more than a year since I saw myself working hard for the Juris Doctor degree in a manner and fashion that accedes to the means and methods pre-pandemic.

I guess this is truly the new normal.

Last year, we were made to believe that with the proper projects and policies of the government along with the cooperation of the private sectors and cooperation of several communities, we will eventually be able to embrace not a new normal but better normal for that matter. However, the same did not happen because of several circumstances surrounding our condition as a nation. In fact, some would say that it has even gotten worse. Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say that you are also having a hard time focusing on your respective dreams.

From what I'm seeing in various social media posts, everyone is having a hard time coping. The students I know are struggling. They are out of shape when speaking of academics. They have lost their sharpness. Their daily routine of studying and grinding has been substituted by worry and panic.

The emotions present and rising in our current situation is in fact an inevitable force. True it is, the pandemic has given us the worst. How many relatives and friends have died? How many are in critical condition? How many have tested positive? How many more lives are going to be affected because of the current health crisis?

I know this to be true, because I have my own fair share of stories. I think it is safe to say that you have your share of the same as well.

Most days, we try to get up and be as productive as our past selves. We try to finish our respective assignments one topic after the other. We spend hours trying. We spend hours disappointed.

Hour after hour, other matters come to play. We see the news about the current crisis. We see the figures rising day by day. We worry about our families. We worry about our futures. We hear the stories of those who survived. We feel the pain of those who are left behind.

And detail after detail, we feel down. We notice our body clocks changing. We become unaware of the time. We tend to skip meals. We tend to lose composure. We become less productive day after day. We end the day frustrated, just like the day before.

A month or more into the lockdown now feels like an eternity hanging by a thread. It makes us question the things that are happening around us. It makes us stray away from the light-- from sanity.

But one thing is for sure, this will not end any time soon. Yes, the lockdown may be lifted, but to say that everything will go back to the way it was is a lie waiting to be revealed in a grand manner. This is the new normal, and we have to deal with it before we all hit rock-bottom.

I know that you still have a lot of matters to attend to, but take a break. If you may be feeling down or frustrated, let it out. We are in the middle of a crisis that still can't be solved in an instance. Everything and everyone is affected, including you and your productivity.

To be frustrated because you can't meet the bar you have set is one thing, but to blame yourself for the same is another. Believe me when I say that none of this is your fault. It is okay to feel the rust building up.

What we can do is shake the same off one day at a time. We move forward even though we could only take a few steps. We don't stop believing in ourselves. The bar we set will always be there. Though it may take time (longer than usual) to reach it, we will still reach it nonetheless.

So if you do feel tired and drained, take a little break. Just don't give up and blame yourself. Progress is never linear, and it will never be especially at this time of crisis.

Just survive a day after the other. I'm still looking forward to seeing you after our current dilemma. There will be a time, some days from now, where we will be back in our school libraries.

There will be a time, some days from now, where you will be able to show the world again what kind of student you are and what kind of professional you are meant to be. There will be a time when we will be able to hug each other, talk at a close distance, and eventually share stories of survival in the process.

Human interaction has been absent for so long that we no longer know what to feel. I know that the pandemic has changed us in ways we would not even understand. We have gradually changed our manner of learning and our lifestyle so that we could eventually fit in with the current setup.

All I am hoping for is that in the near future, we remember this dark stretch of our time as a lesson. May we all be reminded that not everyone has the opportunity to fight for their rights which are somewhat trampled today because of the loss the pandemic brings. May we all be reminded that as law students, we have the duty to help those who are in need in the spirit of justice.

Again, may you all remain safe. May you all surpass the tests of this health crisis. May you all become the lawyers you dream to be any time soon. Most importantly, may you all remember to be good persons and do some random act of kindness in the process. See you real soon, classmate.

Sending love. Hoping that you’ll receive it.

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