Updated: Jul 23
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
At this point, you’re probably dreaming of what you’re doing as a member of the profession.
Your aspirations have been clear since day one—you want to be a part of your family’s legacy when it comes to the practice of law. You want to make a name for yourself. You want to be the best practitioner not only in your province but hopefully, all over the country. You’re currently imagining what school you’ll be entering into. You’re currently dreaming of the great things you could accomplish. You’re currently imagining yourself standing tall and strong—within the ranks of the lawyers you idolize.
I hate to burst your bubble kid, but you’re still at the opposite end of that dream.
As of writing, your future self is still not a lawyer. Your plans of becoming one before turning 25 can no longer be achieved. You are struggling in school—you cannot comprehend the perils of what a law student goes through every day. You are struggling in life—you seemingly cannot find the balance between when to study and when to rest. More often than not, you end up studying drained and exhausted. As of writing, your future self is starting to have doubts as to whether or not a degree in law is eventually for you—for us.
I know. It’s hard to imagine. Your youthful flare is still burning with pride and idealism. You are, after all, ‘gifted’ in the eyes of most people who support you. You have been made to believe that you are one of the best. Your confidence goes beyond what the skies have set. You are one ambitious kid after all. You can’t imagine yourself having doubts as to whether you can achieve a task or not—and that’s a good thing. Always keep that at the back of your mind, kid. Because while I have doubted myself, I still fight for what I believe is mine. And I got that from you.
However, let me give you a head start—the journey to the legal profession is not as easy as you think. It is not as grand as you imagined. It is not as simple as writing some position papers and challenging everyone you know for a debate because you are “equipped” with knowledge of the law. What you hear from other people, and what you see in the movies—scrap them all the same. The stories they tell are but noise to what is real. The narratives you hear are but simplifications of a rather complex journey you cannot encapsulate in one sitting.
For starters, you’re wrong in thinking that the study will eventually make you smart. One thing is for sure—the study will make you humble. I know that you’ll try to overachieve because that will always be our nature. But for the first time in your life, you will know how to fail. You will know how it’s like to lose. For the first time in your life, you will be able to experience weight on your chest, suffocating you until you give up. You will lose your anchor. You will have no north star. You will eventually find yourself drifting afar. You will hit rock-bottom—and it’s okay. Amidst all these struggles, you will find your way back. These dilemmas will teach you one lesson you’ve never learned in your lifetime—that you should get back on your feet and keep going.
Endure the pain and suffering. I know you can because I keep on doing the same. Don’t quit on yourself and don’t quit on your loved ones. You will be surprised how supportive they are and how they’ll guide you towards a path of realized dreams and visions. They will make you feel better. They will keep on telling you that you did not come this far only to come this far. They’d join you in your struggles and lift you up. They will endure the pain with you until the same becomes your strength to move forward.
Also, choose your friends and colleagues wisely. You’re wrong in thinking that law school will eventually be one big competition and that those who walk alone will dominate the game. The study of law is a test on how you could deal with other people. It is a journey meant to be traversed in groups. It serves as a training ground for camaraderie and teamwork. Don’t be too late in realizing that no one survives law school alone. I’ve had my fair share of good friends and support groups with me today. They help me push through with all that’s happening. I do hope that you do the same. Those around you will eventually be your source of inspiration to move forward. All your dreams will form part of a vision bigger than the study itself.
In addition, may you not lose hope in the profession you are about to be a part of in the near future. Today is not the best time for lawyers. Truth be told, today is somewhat one of the worst times to become a lawyer. It’s a head-scratcher, to be honest. Lawyers in governmental positions are in hot water. Their policies are questionable. Their morals are problematic. The people around them are even worse. On the other hand of the spectrum are some lawyers in the private practice who share an equally disappointing track record. Their personal interests are what matter most. There are only a few who fight for human rights. There are only a few who thinks of social justice as a duty to be fulfilled. There are only a few who believes that the profession is meant to be a tool for change—a change for the better.
But as I see it today, the next generation is willing to correct the same. The drive to do something good for the nation is evident in almost every student I know. From social media alone, one would see that there are a lot of future practitioners who can set the bar back to high standards. Almost every law student today wants to be a part of a society that is responsible and accountable to its members. Almost everyone wants to contribute. Almost everyone is progressive. Almost everyone is as idealistic as we are.
This generation is gifted with the tools and knowledge in order to further the idea of a great and progressive community. It is only through our hard work and perseverance that we will be able to rebuild the society we see as a failing attempt in today’s time. In due time, we will be able to contribute better. Together, we can all become instruments and catalysts of change. But for now, we have to understand that we must study harder and learn more in our respective journeys. It is only with an ample amount of wit and knowledge that we could eventually get over the hump of being passive.
Remember your purpose. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Cling on to your purpose on why you are doing this in the first place. Never let your guard down on possibly encountering several obstacles along the way.
Lastly, do whatever you can to have your morals intact.
Because of all the temptations in the world, you must remain strong and forward-thinking. Always be reminded that it is not always about you. The profession is not a mere tool to feel good about yourself. It is a tool to help and promote justice to those in need. While you already know that before entering law school, may I just remind you that the study will ingrain the same over and over again. And you must listen very well to the same, kid. Your will to be successful must be grounded on the fact that you are morally healthy. Your spirit to do good must always show in every task you do—in every job you try to finish.
Because at the end of the day, what matters most is how you’ll eventually contribute to the betterment of our nation. What matters most is that you never gave up. What matters most is that you tried to be a catalyst of change by trying to be a part of the legal profession. Good luck, kid. I know you’ll do good. I do hope that some days from now, everything will be better for both of us as well.
Do not be swayed by the bad things in life. Do not be discouraged by the bad things that happen to you. Do not ever think of quitting. Do not tell yourself that you are not worthy of becoming a lawyer any time soon. The struggles the study comes with it are a part of your life as a student and as a future member of the legal profession. You will always be tried and tested.
Do whatever it takes to stay afloat. Remain positive. The worst will come to pass as well. You will reach the best days of your life sooner than you think. Keep the faith and carry on.
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