Be not afraid to pursue your dream to be a legal eagle someday

What is it that is so daunting that I noticed, many young people these days dream of becoming lawyers but shudder at the thought of pursuing that dream?

I guess I find it surprising because I had known I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in high school.  I always tell people I went to College only because I needed to do it to get to law school.  There were no lawyers in my family, and other than our family lawyer, the late Atty. Victor Hugo, I really had no interaction with members of the legal profession except in shows like Paper Chase.  But I knew in my heart that I wanted more than a college education.  I wanted the title, I wanted to learn about the Law, and although I was proven wrong after I finally got it all, I thought I wanted to be a trial lawyer.  (That’s another blogpost altogether..)

I make no bones about the fact that my years as a law student in Ateneo Law were some of the more difficult and challenging times I’ve gone through.  I did not learn how to commute until then, I never worked a day in my life until then, and I was humbled by my personal circumstances in so many ways.  But I pursued my dream.. and now I live it.

Although I am not a practicing lawyer, I have always held the belief that you are one forever, once you are one.  You have a different appreciation of life in general as you view government in a more technical sense, as you see the legal machinery move, and you find yourself looking at issues differently.  You don’t lose the emotion, but you learn to temper it with the objectivity of the rationale behind the law — you never lose the legal perspective.  Although my life now as a mother and wife and a working woman in a field totally unrelated to the profession doesn’t utilize my legal knowledge, I don’t feel like I’m any less a lawyer living my life the way I am living it now.  I know who and what I am, and I am proud to have accomplished what I have.

But going back to the pursuit of that dream.  I realize now that many young people considering further studies in law fear the rejection of the most prestigious schools in the land — but one must realize and keep in mind, that there are other legal luminaries who form the backbone of the academic teams behind the other schools who have produced good lawyers.  And one will never really know if one can pass that entrance exam until one takes it. 

Getting into law school and finishing the course is just half the battle — passing the Bar Exams is another major hurdle one must deal with.  I know I’m not making it sound any easier writing about being a lawyer the way I am discussing it here, but I made it despite so many odds — and I know anyone who puts their heart and soul into it will make it as well.

If you can write sensible sentences in English — forget how your English sounds as long as it is grammatically correct — if you can put two and two together and have a knack for memorization, and if you truly want to embrace the Legal profession, then go for it.

I did not have spectacular grades in law school.  I was put under probation on my second semester because my performance in the first year was dismal at best.  Yet I managed to survive the four years of law school despite being a full time working student — and I successfully hurdled the quality percentile index (QPI) requirement of the Ateneo School of Law to the very end.

Do not commit the mistake of evaluating how good your chances are in law school based on your performance in college.  The pressure is different, the standards are higher — and if you nurture that dream in your heart, you will find yourself working harder.  I didn’t have any study habits to speak of when I stepped inside the halls of the HV De La Costa Campus of Ateneo back in 1989.  But soon I was writing notes feverishly, even transcribing the lectures of our professors word for word from tapes.  I learned how to write digests in a concise way, relating the story in an easy to remember fashion and zeroing in on the issue and the basis for the decision. 

We all have our gifts.  We each have our strengths.  I wrote well — sometimes good enough to justify a wrong answer because I was able to explain my own rational behind my choice.  But I had classmates who could remember minute details and put together supporting facts from various bodies of law even if they spoke English with a heavy provincial accent, or if they had a “p” and “f” defect.  I had classmates who could read through chapters and chapters of the assignment in one night without losing it to neverland when they wake up the next day.  There were those who could memorize provisions of law and quote them verbatim without much effort.  The only thing that we had in common between all of us was that we all wanted so badly to become lawyers.

And even after all is said and done in law school and your grades are in, you start with a clean slate when you sit down to take the Bar Exams.  I have a high regard for all those who dare to take the Bar Exams — even those who have taken it more than once.  In Ateneo, you shudder at the thought of flunking because you know you will be remembered and everyone will know because the passing average is so high that only a few don’t make it.  You pray to all the saints that you won’t be one of the few who will have to join next year’s bar review class again.  But then when you think about who have flunked, you realize that some of the so-called brainier ones have had their bad days, too.  So in the end, if not for the fact that there were so few, you realize that failure, as it goes for life in general, happens.

Disappointment and failure are part of everyday life.  It’s how we deal with it and strive to overcome it that matters more.  If you have a dream in your heart, I believe you will be a bigger failure if you do not pursue it.  Even those who have continued to take the bar exams over and over again deserve our congratulations.  They have kept that dream alive in their hearts, no matter how elusive.

So I say to those legal eagle wannabes out there — you’ll never really know what stuff you’re made of until you take the bold step of daring to find out.  I dare you to try and pursue that dream to fruition.


Feedback on Feedback: Making it to law school

My Future History Professor

Legal Education: Where to go?

Dream on (Feedback from someone hoping to be a legal eagle someday)

Inspiration and a Mother’s Dream to be a Lawyer Some Day

(Of never-ending but very welcome) Law School Inquiries – A Reply to CONCERNED CITIZEN

Broken Links and Trying to Get into Law School

The Path You Choose to Take

The Dreams we Dream

“Should I go to law school or not, Atty. Dinns?”

Feedback on Feedback: Chasing the dream to become a legal eagle

To those in their Freshman Year in Law School in Ateneo

Be not afraid to pursue your dream to be a legal eagle someday

To all those Law school hopefuls out there..

Another Question on Taking the Ateneo Law Entrance Exam

Thinking about law school?

From a Bar Reviewee

Back when I was in Law School

What is the weather like in New York in April and May?

This is a timely question given that I have friends visiting in April, and a lot of Filipinos from Manila visit during these summer months.

While it is actually Spring here, the weather can still be chilly, more so in the months of April.  You might still need a coat and definitely, sweaters, so layering is the key.  Although it can start getting warm towards the end of April, the unpredictable weather we’ve been having this Winter is ominous.  I have been here only 6 years, and the way it’s been going this year, my forecast is that it’s going to be cold well into April.

I don’t think it will be rainy around that time, so the rain would be the least of my concerns.  You would do well to dress for December Baguio weather in April here in New York, and if your visit extends to May, your sweater might still come in handy.

I remember my first summer here in July 2000 when the mornings were chilly which meant a cardigan or light sweater or maybe a denim jacket, but evenings were cold with a capital C.  It’s not like in Manila where the days are hot and sticky, and the evenings are cooler but still hot.

These days our temperatures are rising to the upper 50s which is warm compared to the usually colder temps of the season, but we’ve seen rain and mist instead of snow.  It makes New Yorkers think that if and when it snows, it will probably be quite a snowstorm.

There were times when it snowed well into April, so your best bet really is to check the weather closer to your visit if you intend to come.  Better yet, write me and I’ll let you know how it’s going here.

Anonymous? Edited? Give me a shout..

It seems to me that I have quite a few readers who are finally coming out of their shell and interacting with me but would rather not have their full comments published.  By way of thanking you for reading my blabbering and having the open mindedness to read and not judge, I will oblige.  Thank you for making Pinay New Yorker a part of your day.  It makes the one-sided writing more of a conversation, and again, while I write simply to express myself and to rant and rave online, I welcome the chance to interact with whoever chances upon my posts.

I have stopped counting the new friends I now have — people I would not have had the chance to interact with and know, were it not for my corner of the blogsphere here.

So please feel free to write, react, or just say hello.  Just let me know if you would rather not have the comment published, or as one of the ladies who requested said that it would be appreciated if I didn’t publish too much of the information she had given me.

It gives me great joy to be of help even in the smallest way.  It’s one of the simple joys of life that when you put together, results in a smile.  A smile is always good for the heart and soul, don’t you agree?

New Additions to my Starbucks Mug Collection

I added two mugs to my collection over the holidays and have an eye out for the seasonal mugs which are currently in the clearance racks of Starbucks now that the holidays are over.

I stumbled upon this New York City Holiday mug showing the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on the way to getting the holiday gift for the grab bag.  At first glance I thought it was the NYC mug, but when I saw it was an NYC Holiday collection mug, I had to buy it lest I miss out on this one altogether.  (Like I did with the black and white skyline series..=(

The second mug is a present from our friend Jimmy and Andrinna who spent the holiday season in Andrinna’s native Switzerland.  I already have the Geneva mug thanks to one of Alan’s previous visits there, so I am just overjoyed to add another Swiss mug to the collection: Zurich.

While some well meaning friends have given me mugs as Christmas or birthday presents, I have really restricted my collection to Starbucks mugs only.  And although they are sold year-round, I do not purchase them full price unless they’re a city or limited edition mug.  I have bought some of the older mugs issued before I even knew of Starbucks in Manila from Ebay, but I have since curbed the urge to spend for this hobby.  So these days, I either get them from the stores here in New York, or when Alan and I travel alone or together.  Friends who also know of my collection have also given them to me as gifts.  This is the reason I have Singapore, Madrid, London, Vancouver, Cebu, Philadelphia and Pike Place (the original home of Starbucks) in my collection.  A friend had mailed me one of the Art series from Okinawa, but sadly, it arrived here all broken to bits.  Alan already had the Manila mug when I arrived here but it got chipped, and I purchased another one myself during my 2002 trip home.  The last Starbucks mug I have purchased from a trip was my Paris mug.  (Finally!)

I’m keeping an eye out for any of those Christmas mugs on the clearance shelves these days.  I noticed they released quite a few designs, and while I would welcome another mug, I’m pretty happy with the NYC Holiday mug I chanced upon without looking for it.  Only if I see a really good bargain.. say something for less than $4.00.  If only because it was a bargain find, I will make space for it in my display.

The Pinay New Yorker Recommends: Fauchon

When I wrote about discovering macarrons over at Payard’s back in October, I immediately wrote a fellow Pinoy who shared a love of the same pastry to give him the good news.  He replied that he heard Fauchon was now serving it in its New York store, but I didn’t get to visit Fauchon up close until this week.

I had first seen Fauchon Alan and I would go to Quantum 56 which was the restaurant/bar of Swiss hotel which used to be the main occupant of the building housing Fauchon on 56th and Park Avenue.  When Alan first went to Paris, one of the chocolate boxes he brought home was from Fauchon which Mom took a special liking to.  They are rather pricey much like the goodies from Maxim’s, but well worth it.

I never really bothered to visit the local store here in New York because it looked like just another fancy specialty shop.  Besides, what did I know of Macarrons back then?  While Alan and I weren’t able to sit down and enjoy some of it, we are making plans to have coffee there one of these days after a dinner date perhaps, or one time we’re heading home. 

And to those chocolate lovers out there, Pierre Marcolini, one of the revered masters of Chocolates and pastries has opened a shop in New York, also on Park Avenue.  A taste of true Belgian chocolates brought to the glitzy streets of New York City.

Excerpts and Reflections from Joie De Vivre

Robert Arbor opens Chapter III of Joie de Vivre with:

“A big part of comprehending joie de vivre is understanding that enjoyment in day-to-day life is the true key to happiness.  Finding happiness in small things means that ordinary days are filled with pleasures rather than obligations.  Joyful anticipation of life’s everyday events is part of bringing joie de vivre into your home in a lasting way.” 

There was a time in my life when I dreaded waking up to having to go to work in the mornings.  This was way back when I was still living in Manila, and yet when you look at the bigger picture, my life wasn’t all that bad at any point in time.  Yet there were days when I felt like it would be such bliss to just stay in bed and not wake up until the sun is high up and getting ready to cross the threshold of the day and start setting.  Life was such a rush, more so during those days when I would be out until 3AM, then I would wake up to the alarm clock at 6AM , and I would walk into the building late at past 9AM no thanks to the eternal traffic jam heading into Makati on any given day.

Everything was just moving too fast.  Was it just the impulsiveness of youth?  I have always been very driven.  I would stay late at work even if my position paid no overtime.  I would go out of my way to do extra work on weekend just to get things done.  And yet now, I wake up at a comfortable hour — still early, but just enough to give me time to prepare my breakfast, maybe feed Angel if he wakes up early enough and is up to eating breakfast, prepare Alan’s and get ready for work.  Thanks to Mom, I don’t have to worry about cooking Angel’s oatmeal although it isn’t really such a bother considering it’s so easy to do.  I take a leisurely walk to the bus stop and wait for my chosen ride.  Between the moment I step out of the house to the moment I stop and wait at the bus stop a few blocks away, I see the sun rising and that’s hope in itself to me.  I don’t ever run down to the subway because there’s always another one leaving soon after.  Besides, if I’m late, I’m late.  Running will not get me there any faster.

This is not to say that I have lost all concept of time.  In fact these days, more so when I’m on the computer at home, the first and last thing I do before I strike the keys to blog or write e-mails or what not is check the time on the lower righthand screen.  When I see what time it is, I make a conscious decision and give myself a deadline — and I shut down.  Or I compartmentalize the things I want to do into pockets of time to make sure I get to do what I had set out to do when I boot up.  (Ten munites  to surf, ten minutes to write e-mails, the rest to blog or do scrapbook layouts — shut down 20 minutes before midnight so I can prep the coffeemaker, put away any food left out to cool, and return the dishes from the rack to the cabinet.)  Of course I don’t always succeed, but I’ve realized that working this way has helped me to be less stressed about running out of time.  It helps me to enjoy what little time I set aside to do something for myself — so instead of thinking I have only an hour to do what I want to do finally when Angel is asleep and everything else has been taken cared of, I tell myself I have a full hour to enjoy.

My greatest joy each day is hearing Angel say “Nod you, Mommy” — his own version of “I love you, Mommy.”… or Alan uttering “Panghabambuhay nga ito, eh..” then kissing me.  Those are the highlights of my day.  I try to set reasonable expectations so I find great joy in what others would consider as shallow thrills.  Little things, when put together, indeed, turn out to be greater joys.  And I am sure many will agree that focusing on the positive helps you appreciate life better, as opposed to highlighting the negative which only weighs you down.

I used to be a worry wart.  In some ways, I still am.  But I’ve learned to deal with the reality that worrying myself to death does not solve any problems.  So I try to enjoy the mild winter, and I take it easy.  Life, I have learned, takes care of itself.  Someone up there takes care of me.