Law school love
They say love and law school are concepts that cannot be merged in one narrative. I beg to disagree.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I got the news that I passed the entrance examination of the law school I applied for. For the first time in years, I felt excitement and worry both at the same time. Excitement was there because finally, I will be able to start my journey as a law student, a dream of mine since I was a kid. Worry was present as well because I do not know what lies ahead.
I have heard all kinds of stories pertaining to my eventual venture. Some say that law school is a different animal. Aside from the ever-famous narrative that law students are deprived of everything upon entering the halls of their institutions, I have also heard rumors surrounding the same.
Of course, the acads-related gossips will always be there. People say that nobody comes out unscathed and alive. Law students lose a chunk of themselves during their prolonged stay in school. They are deprived of rest. They are deprived of time. They are deprived of the right to be happy. They are, as they say, dead inside.
But being the optimist that I am, I believed in myself and the people around me. I carried with me hope that I will eventually succeed in my journey. I carried with me a vision of joy in law school. I carried with me all the love I have, that which comes from the people supporting me.
And in a heartbeat, everything came falling apart.
In the first few weeks of classes, I found myself in a roller coaster of emotions. However, the same ride only has a handful of peaks — sadness, anger, grief and worry. I remember crying myself to sleep. I remember coming up short on almost every recitation and exam. I remember the pain of reading bulks of cases, only to be called on the last two topics I was not able to finish. I remember the agony. I remember the disappointment. I remember asking myself on whether or not this journey is for me.
And while I was in that limbo, I spiraled down into an abyss and eventually hit rock-bottom.
For an individual who prides himself to be tough at certain situations, I was lost. I did not know what I was doing wrong. I always looked at the negative side of things. I failed to see the light at the end of my journey.
However, there came a time when I saw a happy face pulling me towards the light — a familiar smile that, while I was in grief, stayed. While I was crying a puddle of tears, she told me to be strong while shedding a tear or two herself. While I was at the brink of giving up, she was by my side telling me that I’m halfway there. While I was ready to accept my faith, she told me that I am destined for something bigger.
She is and will always be, my joy in law school.
They said love and law school could not work. Joyce and I proved the same to be a myth.
Joyce was among the very few who first knew about my plans entering law school. A day before the first week of enrollment, she said we should celebrate my victory. She was so proud yet so subtle. Never did I see her lose that smile. Never did I think that the same face would be the light in my gruesome journey as a law student.
Most of the time, I said to myself, I was being unfair to my partner. She was the one who saw firsthand how my life crashed. She was a witness as to how I have seen the worst version of myself. She has become the very person I swore to never have — a receptacle of all the bad things that happened in my short life as a student of law.
But she managed to turn all those undesirable thoughts and feelings into something positive. She pushed me forward to reach the end. She stood by my side even during times of doubt and uncertainty. She made sure that my vision towards the goal stays clear. She made sure to be my rock. She made sure to be my moral compass. She made sure that at the end of the day, I will make it.
So I did. For every word of encouragement she shared, I stepped up my game and believed in myself. For every smile she made every time I performed good in school, I focused even more. For every tear she shed because of seeing my lows, I stood up and fought my demons — I gave it my all.
And at the end of it all, after two grueling days of the Bar, I took my phone and decided to tell her that finally, it is done. After everything we’ve been through, we’re finally here. I wanted to share this moment with her. I wanted to thank her for everything that she did, everything she sacrificed just for me to be here. I wanted to tell her that this journey is hers as much as it is mine.
But like every other story, she was there at the end of the road. She said that as promised, she will be with me until the end of my journey. By surprise, she caught me off-guard yet again. As I was only expecting an answer through a phone call, she changed the narrative and went personally to the Bar site. She waited for me to finish the last exam of my law journey, just like how she waited for me to get back up on my feet.
What I expected to be a simple dinner became a night of nostalgia. We talked of the nights I cried myself to sleep because of my studies, and of the days when I questioned my capacity. We talked until we ran out of time but never stories to share. And from that point on, we waited — we waited until the new batch of lawyers were announced.
We always talked in the past that I cannot and will not look at the results on my own. While there may be bravery inside me, my heart could not withstand the pressure that is the release of the results of the Bar. So as agreed, I looked for solace and turned off my phone in church while waiting. For more than three hours, I sat down and tried to compose myself. For more than three hours, I braced myself for the call I’ve been waiting for all my life.
On the moment when I had the gut feeling that the results were already out, I sat in silence until I heard people screaming at the back. People were crying and jumping for joy. At that point, I knew that they already saw the results of the Bar. In me was a whisper that said any time now, my phone would ring. Any time now, news, whether good or bad, would eventually reach me.
Joyce called. I was trembling in fear and waited for a couple of rings before answering. I did not know what to expect. I did not know what was about to happen. I stood from where I sat and answered the phone. There she was at the other end of the line — sobbing. And in that blurry moment, all I can clearly remember was she telling me: “Abogado ka na.”
The pain of hardwork finally bore fruit. The same made me weep. The feeling was unexplainable to the point that the moment felt surreal. I was out of words. Joyce was running out of tears. We both made it through, finally.
As I stood and wept, the remnants of the war I had to go through flashed before my eyes. The journey is finally over. The chapter wherein I dreamed of becoming a lawyer finally ended. Indeed, falling in love and staying in love with the profession I chose were hard-fought battles. It was all truly, and quite literally, a labor of love, and it was worth it.
Archiebald F. Capila holds a Juris Doctor title and just passed “the #BestBarEver2020_21.” He is currently a project officer for the Department of Health.
Subscribe to our opinion newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.