Law School Love | Opinion of the applicant stock photo

They say love and law school are concepts that cannot be merged into a single narrative. I do not agree.

There was a time, not too long ago, when I learned that I had passed the entrance exam for the law school I had applied for. For the first time in years, I felt both excitement and worry. The excitement was there because finally, I will be able to start my journey as a law student, one of my dreams since childhood. There was also concern because I don’t know what awaits us.

I’ve heard all kinds of stories about my eventual business. Some say law school is a different animal. Aside from the ever-famous tale that law students are deprived of everything upon entering the halls of their institutions, I’ve also heard rumors about it.

Of course, the gossip related to acads will always be there. People say no one comes out unscathed and alive. Law students lose a part of themselves during their extended 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 the hope that I will eventually succeed in my journey. I took a vision of joy with me to law school. I took with me all the love I have, the one that comes from the people who support me.

And in the blink of an eye, everything fell apart.

During the first weeks of classes, I found myself on 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 failing almost every recitation and exam. I remember the pain of reading masses of cases, only to be called on the last two topics that I couldn’t finish. I remember the agony. I remember the disappointment. I remember wondering whether or not this trip was for me.

And while I was in this limbo, I tumbled into an abyss and finally hit rock bottom.

For an individual who prides himself on being tough in certain situations, I was lost. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I have always looked at the negative side of things. I did not 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 grieving, remained. As I cried a puddle of tears, she told me to be strong while shedding a tear or two herself. When I was about to give up, she was by my side telling me I was halfway there. As I was ready to accept my faith, she told me that I was destined for something greater.

She is and always will be my joy in law school.

They said love and law school couldn’t work. Joyce and I have proven that to be a myth.

Joyce was among the few people who were first told about my plans to go to law school. A day before the first week of registration, she said we should celebrate my victory. She was so proud and yet so subtle. I’ve never seen her lose that smile. I never thought the same face would be the light of my horrible law school journey.

Most of the time, I told myself, I was being unfair to my partner. She was the one who saw with her own eyes how my life fell apart. She witnessed how I saw the worst version of myself. She became the person I swore I would never have – a receptacle for all the bad things that happened in my short life as a law student.

But she managed to turn all those unwanted thoughts and feelings into something positive. She pushed me forward to get to the end. She stood by my side even in times of doubt and uncertainty. She made sure my vision towards the goal remained 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 would get there.

So I did. For every word of encouragement she shared, I stepped up my game and believed in myself. For every smile she gave every time I did well in school, I focused even more. For every tear she shed seeing my stockings, I got up and fought my demons – I gave it my all.

And at the end of it all, after two trying days at the Bar, I picked up my phone and decided to tell him that it’s finally 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 she did, everything she sacrificed just to have me there. I wanted to tell her that this trip is as much hers as mine.

But like all the other stories, it was there at the end of the road. She said as promised she will be with me until the end of my trip. By surprise, she once again caught me off guard. As I was only waiting for a response over the phone, she changed the story and went personally to the Bar site. She waited for me to finish the last exam of my law school, just as she waited for me to get back on my feet.

What I expected to be a simple dinner turned into a night of nostalgia. We talked about the nights I cried to sleep because of my studies and the days I questioned my abilities. We talked until we ran out of time, but never any stories to share. And from then on, we waited – we waited for the new group of lawyers to be announced.

We’ve always said in the past that I couldn’t and wouldn’t watch the results on my own. Although there may be bravery in me, my heart could not withstand the pressure of the release of the Bar results. So, as agreed, I sought comfort and turned off my phone at church while I waited. For more than three hours, I sat and tried to calm myself down. For more than three hours, I prepared myself for the call that I had waited for all my life.

The moment I had a hunch the results were already out, I sat in silence until I heard people shouting in the back. People were crying and jumping for joy. At that time, I knew they had already seen the Bar results. Inside me was a whisper that said any moment now my phone would ring. At any moment, news, whether good or bad, would eventually reach me.

Joyce called. I was shaking with fear and waited a few rings before answering. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got up from where I was sitting and answered the phone. She was there on the other end of the line, sobbing. And in that blurry moment, all I remember clearly is her saying to me, “Abogado ka na.”

The pain of hard work finally paid off. The same thing made me cry. The feeling was inexplicable to the point that the moment seemed surreal. I was at a loss for words. Joyce was out of tears. We both made it, finally.

As I stood up and cried, the remnants of the war I had to go through flashed before my eyes. The trip is finally over. The chapter where I dreamed of becoming a lawyer has finally ended. Indeed, falling in love and staying in love with the profession I have chosen have been fierce battles. It was truly, and literally, a labor of love, and it was worth it.


Archiebald F. Capila holds a title of Juris Doctor and has just passed “the #BestBarEver2020_21”. He is currently a project officer for the Ministry of Health.


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