Episode 20: Clarity

When I made the decision to enter law school 3 years ago, it wasn’t an easy one to make. I was earning very well in the job I left, and going back to school meant giving up work so I could focus. Liam was about to go to school and daycare, and Karen had just taken up new work. Maybe it wasn’t the best time, but then I would never have another opportunity. So I dove in, even skipping my last official day of work (though in my defense, my notice was far longer than the minimum stipulated 30 days, and they never sent me a return to work order 😉 ), and was greeted by the sight of latecomers being ushered into Malcolm Theater facing the wall as punishment for tardiness.

Fast forward a few years later: After a new baby and a series of miscues on my part, I sent in my appeal letter and submitted myself to the mercies of the Appeal Committee. They accepted. Bullet dodged. Many others were not so lucky. Even so, they fought hard to stay. They had their reasons. Maybe their families pushed them, and they didn’t want to let their families down. Maybe they see it as an opportunity to do something relevant or significant. Whatever their reasons, they saw value in pursuing law, and saw fit to fight their expulsion to the bitter end. And we students fought with them.

So when someone tries to tell me that being in law school is a participation in a “deep-rooted obsession with academic achievements, titles, and self-importance,” I have to say:

“Hija, ang tapang naman ng hinihithit mo.”

Not that I’m saying she’s wrong per se. She’s obviously found her true calling in life, so happy trails and all. But to assert that she’s better off because she’s no longer in law school, preparing for the “boring, pretentious, overrated field” of law?

Watch out, we got a badass over here.

Maybe it’s my age, or all my prior work experience and work environments, or the fact that I’m married with children, but I’ve never had any illusions of grandeur about being a law student, or about the law profession. I’ve also never had any illusions about my own capabilities and my own limits. (Well, except for that one time, in law school, where I took a remedial law subject a year ahead. The rest is, as the cliche goes, history.) So when I say that I don’t understand where she’s coming from, I mean that very literally. And I won’t pretend to. There’s enough pretense to go around as it is, without me having to add to it.

From her own words, it seems she’s only recently “found herself,” as if her true self stood up and ran out of the campus during that one bad day in law school. The truth is, we can lose ourselves in anything when we’re not careful, and especially when we’re not clear with ourselves about who we are and why we’re here. When the anchor’s up, it’s easy to get swept away.

Personal clarity. It does a person good.

From Day 1, we were always told, “Law is not for everyone.” I still believe that, but that isn’t to say that some people have the “natural” knack for it while others will just never “get it.” I believe it is a mixture of aptitude, attitude, perspective and perseverance. Put plainly, she did not have the proper attitude at the time. She couldn’t handle abject failure before a professor and her peers, and it affected everything else. This doesn’t make her bad or wrong. It was just a poor fit at the time.

In that sense, maybe that’s why I’m still here: I don’t mind failing. I don’t mind getting humiliated in class. I don’t go around *looking* for failure or humiliation, but when it happens I don’t spaz out. I had a ton of that failure and humiliation back in first year, in what was and still is (in my humble opinion) the absolute most difficult set of first year professors ever assembled. In hindsight, it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

So, thank you for your insight. Now if you don’t mind, I have a pile of cases I need to sift through.

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One response to “Episode 20: Clarity

  1. Pingback: Episode 21: The One-Liners Blog Post, Part Deux | The Straight Edge Advocate·

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