Some people think that law school is difficult because you have to memorize thousands of law provisions. Some think that we, law students, are know-it-all’s.
No.Being in law school is not just memorizing provisions. We have to read a book or two per subject, to understand the concept of the law. We also have to read hundreds of cases every semester in order to know how to apply the law correctly. Some professors even require us to submit handwritten case digests. You will have to extract the facts, issues, and rulings of the court, then write it on a yellow pad. It might sound easy, but when you have a very limited time, you will find yourself still writing at 3 am, and waking up at 7 am just to write again. Giving up is never a choice, because you do not want to fail.
When I was at my first year in law school, I have to finish writing 453 case digests on Constitutional Law II within two weeks. My right hand was at its limit, but if I stopped that time, even for a 20-minute break, I would not be able to finish my case digests.
Still, my efforts were not enough. I was forced to leave Mendiola because I did not meet the QPI requirement. I was .1+ point short. My life is a joke. Long story short, I had to transfer to the Alabang branch. There, the same professors were more lenient. They don’t have to fail students for no valid reason. I did not exert as much effort as I did when I was still in Mendiola. Not even half. To my surprise, I passed all my subjects that semester.
Mendiola crushed my soul. It took me months before I was able to go back to school again. Every time I wake up, I feel hopeless. Even breathing seems a difficult task to do. I was so depressed. Every time I see my law school friends, I think that at the back of their minds, they think I am so stupid for being kicked out after only a year. It was so hard for me, especially when I know that I would not be able to redeem myself, because Mendiola already closed its doors to me. It had actually slammed the door in my face.
Imagine waking up early every morning, just to go to the library before 7 in the morning. My law school buddy and I would study outside and wait for a librarian to open the library. We leave the school premises at 10 in the evening, to the point that the guard would have to ask us to leave. Yet, it was not enough. Those sleepless nights were not enough. I constantly blamed myself. I thought that maybe if I studied harder, or if I haven’t had those prolonged naps, I could have stayed.
It has been two weeks since I started studying in the library again. It is not easy. I keep on remembering those days that I was still in Mendiola, studying in its old library while John Mayer’s No Such Thing was playing on loop.
I am still afraid. What if these efforts are in vain? What if I fail again? What if I am really not good enough? Too many what if’s that I would rather choose to play MMORPG or to watch on Netflix instead. I want to escape as long as I can. At least if I fail without exerting effort, I know I truly deserve it.
So to the people who think that law students are know-it-all’s, you are wrong. Yes, there are know-it-all law students, just like in every profession out there. However, generally, we are just young adults trying to face the day pretending we are tough enough to be lawyers. We are people who question ourselves if we are good enough or if we would pass the Bar (also pressured because we do not want to disappoint our hopeful families who supported us financially and morally).
The same people who struggle to survive their classes every single day while their college friends are engaged, getting married, or being promoted at work. The same people who want to understand the law so that they can make this country a better place to live; and so that they can fight for your rights. Even if it breaks them in the process.
And yes, this post is not meant to be inspirational. It is not like those posts with sad beginnings and happy endings. This post will not try to lift the spirits of my fellow law students. Nemo dat quod non habet. I still think I am a failure. I still doubt my capabilities. I still doubt myself. I am still trying to fight the monsters inside my head. Alone. Demotivated.