Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back to square one



Admittedly, I think I had this high regard for my capabilities and credentials. I came from THE BEST University afterall, right? And I graduated with honors, considering that I wasn't the type of student who devoted her time on acads alone. I was a member of three organizations during my stay, wherein I've had varying positions and responsibilities. Half my college life, I was part of the Executive Committee.

I must be someone great. Right?

When I didn't pass the LAE, people told me, surely you'd pass in Ateneo. And I did. And when I did, people told me, 'sus, Ateneo, kayang kaya mo na yan!

But yesterday was such a humbling experience.


I tried my best to read as much cases as I could to prepare for the dreaded recitation on the first day of classes. We were assigned around 80 to 100 cases (I'm not sure of the exact numbers), and the official case list was only given to us less than 72 hours before THE DAY. Of course, those are to be tackled in four days, but still, we have to try to read everything since we don't really know where he'd start.

I have always been excited about my first day in school. In the entire history of my academic life, this is the VERY FIRST time I DREADED GOING TO SCHOOL.

I used to be one who's usually prepared for class. Masipag daw ako, sabi nila. I LOVED recitation, because I liked the idea of showing the professor/teacher that I exert effort to do well in his or her class. But yesterday, I felt like I was one of the weakest links. (And UP graduates only constitute less than 25% of the student population there, I think).

I was praying soooo hard that I won't get called because I knew that I'd probably just make a complete fool out of myself (though I comforted myself with the idea that most people probably feel the same, and it's probably just the spotlight effect). Prior to the professor's arrival, the people around me were discussing the cases like they know it by heart. I'm familiar with some, but I could not, for the life of me, remember the facts about the case that I always had to look for my notes in my laptop to refresh my memory. I suddenly longed for the Rhea I knew, just a few months back, who could talk a good deal about a subject.

UP graduate? Cum laude? At that moment, I certainly didn't feel like I was giving justice to those titles. I felt like I was just an ordinary student, as average (or below average) as can be.

Much to everybody's surprise (and my relief), Dean Roy declared that he doesn't want to give recits anymore. Although, upperclassmen advised us to still prepare for a possible recitation, since he might just want to throw us off guard.


I still remember the words one of the speakers during the OrSem told us, "Everybody here starts with a clean slate. Because no matter how high you think you are, the Law School will break you down into pieces. And then, that's when it would start to build you up."


So I'm back to square one. I shall stop thinking of myself as a cum laude UP graduate, not because I am now hardcore Atenean (because as I said, UP will forever live in me), but only because the immediate connotations implied in such a title puts me at a disadvantaged position, becuase it makes me think that I'm above average and that as such, the way I do things before to get good grades will work this time around.

Notice though how I emphasized immediate. Well, only at this very moment, I [rhea]lized that thinking of myself as one, and truly knowing what it means to be one, can be for my own benefit, too. Because a UP graduate NEVER gives up. A UP graduate stands his or her ground.

To be honest, I am still filled with much anxiety right now. See? I'm blogging when I should be reading (since reading 8-10 hours a day won't merit good performance, but merely survival). I guess this is my way of destressing and boosting my currently super down morale.

I am VERY MUCH HUMBLED by what I felt yesterday.

But as I said, I shall not give up. I shall fight. Because as Dean Roy said, lawyers are warriors. We fight the battles other people could not fight.

In a way I really feel like crying now, because I feel so weak and incompetent. But if I give up my dream just like that, then I'm really not deserving.

I'm putting my ego at such a big risk by posting this publicly. Because if I do give up in the future, or if I don't pass my subjects or the BAR, surely it would be embarassing. But I'd take that risk, if that would motivate me even more to WIN THIS.

Of course, such is not the highest motivation. Thanks to Dean Roy, I have now discovered what is it that I want to do essentially :) And more than anything else, that's what motivates me.