So you want to become a law student?
It’s almost March and therefore, I’m ending my sixth semester in law school and would also celebrate my third anniversary as an Economics graduate. Three years passed by quickly without me noticing it yet I felt that my days seem longer compared to an ordinary human being. I do love law but I also cannot wait to have my life started. It’s like I’m living in the planet Venus where my days are slower than my years. It is indeed tiring when you were studying ever since you were four years old. Nonetheless, there is no other solution to this but to continue forth. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared,
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
If you want to become a law student too, the first rule is to give passion to it. Do not ever go to law school without any love for law. Do not go to law school just because your mother told you so or you do not want to work yet. People with these reasons are most likely to drop out from law after their first year. It’s very mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting even for people who truly wants law.
There is no ideal pre-law course although Rule 138, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Court suggests, “bachelor’s degree in arts or sciences with any of the following subjects as major or field of concentration: political science, logic, English, Spanish, history and economics.” But anyone who has college degree can apply. I’ve known people who majored engineering and fine arts back in college but are now doing very good in law school. Remember this: College life is always meant to be enjoyed. Do not worry law school at this point because you would be missing a lot in life if you waste college worrying on your future in law school.
I’ll share to you a secret that I’ve only understand in law school. You have two main enemies upon entering it: yourself and time. If you truly want to study law, you must know that nothing could ever stop you except yourself. The first thing you should do is believe in your capabilities. After all, to sum up what you are going to do in law school, you’re only going to read, write and speak. Everyone can do that. However, not everyone cannot do is withstand the workload given by the professors in law school. Yes, we are speaking here of mountains of cases and books with words and concepts that seems to be the lingua franca of another planet. This is most especially true in first year where everyone is being tested if they are indeed fit to the study of law.
Life is not fair in law school. My professor in Legal Research once told us, “You would experience injustice in law school because how would you understand justice if you don’t know injustice.” You would sometimes fail a subject with unjustified reasons from your professor. You would see some professors favor your classmates just because they belong to the same fraternity. You would have professors who was hardly present and would fail half of your class’s population. You would have very indecent professors. You would see cheaters pass with flying colors and you would see yourself sulk in one corner because you didn’t make it. You would have self-doubts and would ask yourself repeatedly, “What am I doing here?” That’s why your ego would suffer so much in law school. You may be one of the brightest persons in your undergraduate studies however it’s a different ballgame in law school. The workload may be too much for you to read everything or you may have read the case but you forgot everything when you stand up after you professor called you suddenly for recitation. I tell you, there would really come a day wherein you’ll say to your professor, “I’m sorry, Sir, but I didn’t read the case.” If you’re lucky, he’ll just ask you to sit down but sometimes we’ll have unlucky days wherein you’d be bombarded with sharp words by your professor. His words will squeeze every ounce of confidence you have in your system. I had a professor who really shouted at me and pronounced how stupid I was in front of my class. But that’s just another day in law school. All the things I’ve enumerated above are NORMAL happenings in law school. Just sleep that night, pray for help to God and wake up the next day to prepare for the next class. It’s just one recitation. You can always do better next time. More than the recitation grades, one must be prepared with the preliminary and final examinations. The weight of your grades depend mostly there.
I do not belong into any sorority groups but I believe that a lot of people join in these sorority or fraternity groups is because of lack of confidence in themselves. These groups would promise you that they would take care of you in your stay in law school. But actually, you are enough to finish law school. The effort you would place in them would mean so much if you use them to yourself. Usually, you give services to senior members of the sorority and fraternity groups like having their cases photocopied, digesting cases and doing chores for them. I heard that hitting and torturing as part of initiatory rights are minimal nowadays that’s why I was shocked when a law student from San Beda died recently of hazing rights.
Anyway, in brief, I do not recommend anyone joining these groups because usually when you get in, life would be more complicated than you thought especially if your sorority or fraternity is in dispute with other groups. Whether you like it or not, you would be involved. However, one good thing in joining these groups is probably friendship. You would have always someone to turn to. You would be in support group with each other in times of trouble. Support groups are very important in law school. It keeps you sane and helps you to go forward with your life. But even without a group, I have good friends in law school. My friends from high school and college are also very supportive. Just one text to them that I need them and they would be there. I’m lucky, I know. But anyway, joining sorority and fraternity would really depend on the preference of a person. Remember that once you join a group, you would be a member of it forever. So choose wisely.
Lastly, never ever depend solely on your professors’ lectures. Most often than not, they are incomplete. Some just ask you questions in recitation but they shall never teach you. If you do not understand concepts, befriend a senior student and ask. Another tip is, usually there are copies of notes from prominent law schools in the photocopy shop near your school. Just ask around. Nothing is wrong with asking around.
As a final word, the best law advice that I could give you is to enjoy law school the way Elle Woods did. She may seem to be kooky and very unlikely to be in law school being a fashion major but she studied very well and proved everyone wrong.
Which brings me again to my first point, have that passion in law. And yes, Elle Woods is my heroine.
If you’re now decided to enter law school in June, good luck and God bless. Bring passion with you and I know you’d make it, too.