Wednesday, December 30, 2015


2015: What a year

Last year, I said I had a good feeling about 2015. I couldn't be more wrong. In addition to the pressures of graduation and the Bar examinations, the Universe made it more interesting by throwing in a personal shitstorm in the middle of Bar review.


1. Graduation. Getting into the UP College of Law seemed to be impossible to a 20-year-old UPM graduate. Graduating from this institution was even harder. But with God’s grace and overwhelming support from my family and friends, I was able to get in and graduate. I was fortunate to wear the sablay for the second time, now adorned with the hard-earned UP Law tassel.

All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.
The reality that I was able to get out of Malcolm Hall alive and with a Juris Doctor degree has not completely sunk in yet because we had to study for the Bar right after our graduation last June 2015. One thing I’m sure of is: This is, by far, the  most difficult thing I had willingly put myself through. I am relieved that it’s over. 

(Photo from one of my law school comrades, Jojo)
It would’ve been perfect if I came out victorious with my law school comrades but I did not and it saddens me everyday that reality had to burst our bubble of familiarity and comfort that late in our law school lives. But I believe everyone came out of this experience as better, more focused individuals, having known our strengths, weaknesses, priorities and goals in life.

2. This year I am thankful for new friends (in every sense of the word) for picking up the slack (read: me ha ha) when a few old friends let me down. (See personal shitstorm discussion below.) I would not have survived the craziness that is Bar review and all the shit that came with it if it weren’t for new friends, Mafi, Kyra, Katz, Chua, Ana and Hana. Thank you for accepting my brand of crazy. Air kisses. Haha.

3. Every year I am thankful for Jecy and Rich’s continued (and voluntary!) presence in my life. Bar review and the actual Bar exams in November were bearable because I had Rich with me in UST (FYI, he was also bar examinee) and we had Jecy waiting for us outside. We had sanity-check dinners on weekends I can't go home to Laguna. The reason I always appeared calm (at least, most of the time) was because I had Jecy and Rich to settle my weary (and wary) heart and mind. Thank you for understanding and supporting my basketball obsession before, during and after Bar review. Haha

Minutes after Gilas 3.0 lost to China in the FIBA Asia 2015 final.

4. Daehan Minguk Manse! God bless Song Ilkook and his wife for creating these adorable triplets and for deciding to join the Korean show, The Return of Superman. Think Keeping up with the Kardashians but with babies and toddlers!

Study breaks during Bar review were filled with discussions about the triplets...with anyone willing to listen.

5. Law School Happy Crush. #Landi2015


1. Personal shitstorm. From July to October this year, along with the challenges of Bar review, I had to manage…well, “problematic situations” that I was not able to foresee yet has been happening under my nose all this time. I saw people for who they really are, and I was able to decide which friendships to keep and which ones are beyond saving. 

Law school has taught me the value (sometimes, the necessity) of burning bridges. This personal shitstorm reinforced that lesson, and taught me to be more discerning of the people I bring into my life.

Mars #shotsfired

A wise man (Dumbledore) in a movie (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) once said, "It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices." 

2. Bar Review and the Bar Exams. Because I only had four months to prepare for the Bar exams, I had to focus all my time and energy on one goal: Be at my readiest by November. Sacrifices had been made—watching TV shows religiously and blogging were the first ones to go. My Facebook account had to be deactivated. Applications on my mobile phone, erased. Inumans, postponed. Friends, ignored. Love life, delayed. (Aysus.) Distractions, minimized.

All bar examinees were expected to be prepared to answer (via a handwritten essay with 5 sentences or less per question) all kinds of questions from basic ones to the most obscure. I will not lie. It was not a walk in the park for me. I felt like a contestant on American Ninja WarriorSobrang hirap, ayoko nang ulitin.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

Verdict: All things considered, I give 2015, 3 out of 5 stars. This would've been an all-time low two-star year but graduation (and Happy Crush! ha ha) somehow saved the year.

The future: 2016 scares the f*** out of me.

Sometime in my early twenties I had an existential crisis. A death of a loved one raised questions such as, what I was here on this Earth for. I wondered what I wanted to achieve out of this lifetime. In the end, I decided that happiness, or being happy, should be one of my goals. I only knew the answer to the question what will make me happy after a lot of reflections and deflections. Finally knowing what I wanted out of this life and realizing all the challenges I had to overcome to be truly happy overwhelmed then-22 year old me. For happiness to appear obtainable, I reduced this seemingly insurmountable goal into an outline, a step-by-step plan. My personal Idiot's Guide to Happiness.

Long story short, I lived my life according to this plan I referred to as the Timeline. Anything that wasn’t timely, I postponed or ignored. I did everything I can to graduate on time (both undergrad and law school) because these were integral aspects of the Timeline. I was (then and now) convinced that following this Timeline was the sure-fire way to success, to my happiness starting year 2016. 

What scares me about 2016 is facing the possibility that one of the key points in my Timeline (being a lawyer) may not happen on time, and I am not sure if I can take a heartbreak of this magnitude. It’s scares me everyday.

I try to find solace in my Faith, my family and friends, and music. Recently, I discovered a song (that isn’t a worship song) that (sort of) calms me. It’s called Someone by Lucy Spraggan

Everyday say this to yourself, This future is for me.

You may never find the missing link
You may never paint a work of art
But you will find faith where they say it is
It's already in your heart.

You have the power in your hands
It's time now to believe
You will always have the secret
You will always have the air to breathe
Everyday say to yourself, this future is for me.

Please be good, 2016. 

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