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My law school playlist

November is not only “Ber” month but also “Bar” month. It is when the finish line awaits those who spent their lives in law school, as well as others known as “Jurassic Park.” It is the moment when all the lessons engraved on their souls and stamped on their hearts will be tested. With their supporters ardently cheering, piously praying and patiently waiting, the Bar examinees are racking their brains for the precepts, provisions and qualifying conditions that they learned in years of training. This is their judgment day.

Being among those who sent off our examinees, I feel the pressure and eagerness to finally get those four letters and a dot before my name. More than that, the inspiration they cast on me is priceless. I know they all went through the hardship and tears that I am currently enduring, all for the love of the legal profession.

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That hardship will soon be also part of my scars, because the tough ones are not those who are without wounds but those who dust themselves off and fight again. This is just the beginning of my journey, and quitting is not an option.

After finding out the results of my midterm exam, I became depressed and disappointed. Although I had prepared for the worst, I still felt broken when the reality of test scores hit me like a slap on the face. Reminding myself of the person I was way back in my college days—an achiever, optimist and inspirer—helped me to not lose faith in myself. These, coupled with other sweet memories, should not be forgotten because memories are God’s gifts to us so that we can enjoy the sunlight even when it’s raining, and know the feeling of winning whenever we are losing. We all have time machines, don’t we? Those that take us back are memories and those that carry us forward are our dreams. The dream of becoming a Bedan lawyer takes me to the future where I can see myself in humble service to others.

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Here are the songs that help me travel back to the past, where I relive the feeling of excitement and bliss when I decided to enter my law school, the songs that cradle me when I’m at my lowest, and that will take me to the future that God destined for me.

Track 1: “Lord, I Offer My Life to You.” To be lost in a huge crowd of people who seemingly know their own life direction is frightening. It was during those times of feeling confused about what I should do to give my existence a sense of purpose that I let go of my inhibitions and let God guide my path. From then on, I have received commendations in public speaking, writing and logic. I will hold on to these aptitudes and hone them until I graduate with Latin honors and pass my school’s strict requirements. It is when I fully devote myself to Him that I realize that losing track will never be an option because I walk by faith, not sight.

Track 2: “With a Smile.” Everyday life in law school is a challenge, and it takes a lot of prayer, guts, persistence and resiliency to finally “conquer and roar.” As the song goes, “Baby, you’ll get by with a smile/You don’t have to worry coz there ain’t a need to hurry./No one ever said that there’s an easy way.” Flashing a smile is hard especially when you’re broken inside. Being humiliated, exhausted from an all-nighter but still unable to satisfy your professor with an answer is mind-bothering. Every Bedan lawyer also went through hell, I constantly remind myself. But they didn’t get stuck; they always moved on. So I stop tormenting myself by reliving the pain over and over. Good people go through terrible things, but wise people know when and how to let it go.

Track 3: “Don’t Cry Out Loud.” Whenever I feel like bursting—from cases left “undigested,” recitation due the next morning, books to be read on a single subject because referring to only one might catch you off-guard, and provisions to be memorized so that you’ll always have a fortified legal basis—I think of the five minutes to be wasted if I stop and cry: Within that time I would have at least familiarized myself with the gist of an article or provision. Learning how to be numb and to hide emotion, all for the love of law, is another way of saying “Fake it till you make it.” It is forgetting my ego and flickering demands because, as US President Barack Obama said, “If you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’—then you’ll end up feeling frustrated. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”

Track 4: “Today My Life Begins.” Every day is a new beginning. It is living all the lessons I’ve learned and trying to apply it in real life. It is seeing the beauty of everything and always looking on the brighter side so you’ll end up thinking that a Superfriend made all of these, and I need to appreciate it. Law school difficulties are all part of His plans to mold me into something firmer, tougher, brighter and full of humility and a life of service to others. I am determined to hold on and finish what I’ve started. I will never let the odds stop me from pursuing something that I know I’m destined to be: a Bedan lawyer. With the Lord by my side, I know He will guide me because I place my hand in His, and walk by faith, not sight.

Repetition is important to learn a song by heart. You need to listen, understand and sing it over and over again to perform it perfectly. As in all law subjects, it’s not enough to just memorize because there is the danger of forgetting it days later. Then, it will defeat the purpose of lifelong learning. Read, understand, and read again is my kind of repetition. It is when you know that you can retell, even not verbatim, the law, its essence and the intent of its makers, that you can finally leave the studying table.

It doesn’t matter how much time you spent just to learn the books’ contents. It’s not the “bokya” moments in recitations and examinations that will define you. Most especially, it’s not the years you spent in law school that should discourage you. Because these are just the hiatus in a song, to prepare you for the full blow of high notes and emotional lyrics where you can finally feel its meaning and appreciate its beauty. Similarly, these are obstacles of the Jurassic Park; it’s not the end yet. When you realize that you’re still singing while running amid law school demands, that means you’re surviving.

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The play, pause, stop, fast-forward and replay buttons on my music player are controllers of the songs I choose to play. The same goes with my law journey; every factor should be counted as a controller, and it is up to me to enjoy the music and sing along.

Anna Dominique G. Marmol, 20, from Pilar, Sorsogon, is a freshman at San Beda College of Law.

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