1 Sem Down!

Hello! My first semester in law school is done! Well, my final exams are done, but I still have to write case digests for our Consti 1, but YESSS, ONE SEMESTER IN LAW SCHOOL DOWN! 😀 I know it may not be much of an achievement for others, especially for those who are already law graduates, but I don’t want to deprive myself of this milestone because law school and staying in it even for just one semester is not like any other challenge. It matters to me because the past semester taught me how serious and diligent I can be in studying. Like, wow, I did not know I can have study habits like THAT. As usual, there are rooms for improvement, but my experience last sem made me confident that “self, you got this, you can fight for this!”

I have already shared previously my life adjustments since I started this journey to becoming the next lawyer in our family. Hehe. For the record, I constantly adjust because, of course, as what Christina Perri sang, “I’m only humaaaan, and I crash and I breakdown.” Hahaha. After our midterms, I was not able to wake up early again as early as 4 a.m. I think it’s partly because I stay up later. Consequently, I am always late or absent at work. It is always a walk of shame. Haha. My work is another story; let me just focus on my acads in this post. Haha.

I have a lot to thank for my boyfriend who’s always willing to meet me halfway or go to Manila for us to study together. Maybe it’s just me, but studying with him feels so much better because I’m a little more pressured to study when I see him studying, and I have someone to talk to when I’m already getting sleepy. Haha. It’s impractical most of the time to meet him, but I’m more productive when I’m studying with him so I don’t mind. 🙂 I hope he feels the same, too! Hahaha. 🙂

MOST DIFFICULT SUBJECT

Perhaps the most difficult subject for me was Criminal Law 1 because we cover a lot of topics in one meeting consisting of cases and concepts. Our prof also loves to ask us tricky hypothetical questions. There were four meetings when we had to follow a “clean desk policy” where we’re not allowed to have any notes at all in our two-hour class. With a bit of luck, I fortunately did not have any bad recitations then. To be honest, I fared well in our Crim 1, but I was not satisfied with my post-midterm performance even if I passed in all of my recits. I could have done better… because I have studied, but sometimes the elves in my brain panick and create chaos in the memory station. Haha. At the end of the day, I always remind myself that it’s better to learn from mistakes, that progress is more important than perfection. I just hope now that I passed our final exam in Crim 1 because I felt depressed after taking it. I think that was the first time I cried over something law school-related. Hahaha.

ROOMS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Listing here where I need to improve on:

  • study strategies
  • timing my caffeine intake
  • organization of notes
  • one-line summaries
  • outlines
  • “uhms”
  • listening to my body clock
  • scheduling review sessions for exams

MOST MEMORABLE 1ST SEMESTER HAPPENING

I think the most memorable happening in my first semester in law school was our retreat. Aside from it being my first retreat, it was also the first time I have been with my blockmates for two nights and three days in one place. There were a lot of laughing and sharing. When we got back to school, there was a mass and our families were surprisingly there. 🙂

My first bar operations was also a memorable one. Four years from now, I claim that I will be one of the barristers that our school will give BarOps to.

HOPES

I hope that no matter the struggle, frustrations, sacrifices, I will be able to fight for this dream and conquer it. I hope I won’t fail any subject so I’d be able to graduate on time on 2020 and take the bar on the same year. I hope to attract friends in law school who help lift each other up. I hope I pass the bar with one take. I hope to make my future alma matter proud.

I heard it again

Masanay ka na lang.”

I hate hearing this.

When I hear this, I think, “So that’s it? I should just get used to it?” Why would I want to get used to something that needs improvement? Why would I settle? What do they mean by “masanay ka na lang?” Do they mean shut up and just do the work because this is how things are here?

On the other hand, I also think that this is a challenge to adapt to the present circumstances. I have no qualms about this, but I still think that before we adapt to the way things are, we should examine first what can be done to be more efficient and effective.

If we are already contented with getting used to the old ways, creativity and critical thinking get rusty, innovation stops, and complacency rules.

This Is A Safe Space

Facebook and Twitter are too crowded. Whenever I want to express something, I turn to my Tumblr or WordPress accounts. I feel less judged because of their air of anonimity.

I might delete or set into private some of my earlier posts here. I want to be able to freely express my feelings, but I want to do them anonymously so as not to prejudice others (and myself?).

Anyway, I hope you’re all having a good day. 🙂

A Month in Law School

After a month in law school, I would like to write about my adjustments and what I have realized so far.

I know getting into law school would mean losing a few (or more) hours of my precious sleep. In a normal situation, I always make it to a point that I get at least eight hours of sleep. I also rarely sleep late because I am already sleepy around nine o’clock p.m. #TeamSleep

I am a working student, which means I make up my time for studying late at night and very early in the morning. My typical day starts at four a.m. and ends at 12 midnight so I can hopefully finish reading (and comprehending) heaps of assigned cases and memorize provisions. That means I just have roughly four hours of sleep almost everyday!

It’s not easy, of course. What I do is I take a bath immediately after my alarm clock rings. It’s cold, but it’s the only way for me to be awake enough to read without dozing off. I use the pomodoro technique–  I study straight for 45 minutes and then take a break for 15 minutes. I use my breaks to take a nap!

My weekends are very different from when I was not into law school yet. Before, I would read books for leisure, practice brush calligraphy, watch series, or just bum around with my boyfriend. Now, I wake up early even on weekends to study. I have classes on Saturday afternoons, while on Sundays, I just study the whole day (with breaks, of course!) until it is time to sleep.

Dates with my boyfriend are also different now. Since we are both law students, we have study dates. It is not as boring as it sounds. Haha. To be honest, it is the highlight of my week. I look forward to it every weekend. 🙂

It also pains me that I cannot go home every other weekend anymore. I miss our house, my room, home-cooked meals, and most of all, my family! Fortunately, they visit me once every month. I’m grateful that they are very supportive. ❤

I have less time, or none at all, to chat or hang-out with my friends, too. I know it’s bad for my social life, but with my situation and knowing my capacity to socialize, law, work, and time for my family and boyfriend are already taking up most of my energy and time. People may frown at this, but for now, I am contended that my social life mostly involves my family and boyfriend. I will re-connect with friends during my sem-break, that is for sure.

My law school being a sectarian one, I needed to adjust with their prayer time and seminar subject. We are required to take a seminar or religion class until second year. We have to stop walking and talking when it is time for the three p.m. and six p.m. prayers. It is my first time to study in a Catholic school, so this practice is very new to me. Since high school, we never pray before and after classes. U.P. never does that, too. In my school, it is a rule, and we have the motto ora et labora, which means prayer and work. Personally, I do not hate it, but I find it ironic that I am in a Catholic school while I am not a religious and faithful person. Hehe. 🙂

Now, my realizations.

Studying law is a way of life. It is not for the faint of heart, lazy, and uncommitted. To be in law school is to want it everyday. Comparing it to a romantic relationship with a person, it is the partner who the other party chooses to love everyday despite the imperfections and challenges in the relationship.

Like what my father told me, the three rules in law school are: READ, READ, AND READ. Time is of the essence, so I get every chance I can to read wherever, whenever. Hehe.

Taking care of myself is also one of my priorities. Weak immune system will have a domino effect in my performance in law school and in work. I take multivitamins and supplements everyday, twice a day. This is very important since I do not get enough sleep and I always process a lot of information.

A law student can only prepare as much. With the many cases and provisions that she has to study for one class, it is normal to get confused with the facts and terms used. The most that a law student can do is to do her part to study as much as she can. Lucky if I was not called to recite a case I haven’t read or to answer a question which I do not know the answer. In case of bad recitations, whether I knew the answer or not, I do not let the bad feeling stay longer than necessary. I charge it to experience, to lessons.

Terror but brilliant professors are worth it. There has never been a time yet when I did not feel nervous for a class. I especially get loud heartbeats when I am called to recite. Beyond these, I am thankful to learn from my professors, four of them bar topnotchers, and one a valedictorian of their batch in law school.

It helps that my mindset is that I am studying not for the recits or exams, but for THE Bar Exams years from now so that I can pass, practice law, and help people who need legal service.

Often times, I would rather not work. I want to focus on my law studies only. However, I need to work. I pay for my own bills, rent, and tuition. I do not want to burden my parents of these things anymore. On the flip side, working has made me value my time more.

So there! Gotta work now. 😦 🙂 Haha.