My Love of Law

My dream of becoming a lawyer was born when I was in fifth grade. I originally wanted to be a teacher. It felt like I was born with that ambition. Maybe all children first dreamed to be a teacher since our teachers are our first hero outside home. I used to always draw a blackboard and a stick version of me on papers. Then, I had this teacher in fifth grade who taught us about the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

I was good at understanding and remembering the provisions of the Constitution back then (pardon the conceit embodied in this part). And he was impressed. I was his favorite student because I excel in his class (this is a mere assumption on my part) and he was definitely my favorite teacher too because he always appreciates me. He told me that he's seeing that someone from our class would someday become a lawyer and he was referring to me. That was the birth of my lawyer ambition. But I didn't instantly abandoned by dream of becoming a teacher. I told my sister back then that I’d study teaching then pursue legal education. She said I was crazy. She was right, I guess, but I really wanted to be a teacher too and be liked by my students the way my classmates and I adore our favorite teacher.

Then in high school, I completely forgot about becoming a teacher. I discovered that I don’t have the patience that it requires. No longer was it appealing to me because I was exposed to the reality that teachers are also just human beings. They are imperfect. They don’t always follow the good values they would ask their students to do. They also fight with their friends. They have also answered back to their parents. They have lied. They have cheated. They have committed sins that I thought teachers do not commit. It disappointed me a lot. No, hurt would be the right word. The reality hurt me a lot. I don’t know. It was just that when I was a kid and while I was growing up, I look up and give utmost respect to all my teachers. I actually thought they were obedient angels and faultless heroes sent to kids. I considered them to be a special group in such a way that priests and nuns were the 'chosen ones'. Well, in some ways they are but not in the way I thought them to be and that disappointed me a lot. Enough to make me completely abandon my teacher ambition.

The law profession, on the other hand, is pulling me harder day by day, closer to it. People equate a lawyer to a liar because they say that lawyers lie for a living. I couldn't disagree more. I want to prove people wrong. I’m certain that there are a lot of lawyers out there who righteously perform their duties to be instruments of justice. I want to belong to that group of lawyers. Each person I meet who says lawyers are a bunch of materialistic individuals who value money more than their principles, strengthens my desire to become a lawyer and someday prove them wrong.

In college, I pursued Political Science in a premier university in the Philippines and to date composed by the most socially aware and active studentry, faculty and staff. During my stay in the university, I was slapped by the injustice-rich and equality-lacking society/political system that the Philippines has. Each day I spent there, made me more empathetic of my countrymen, and deeper concerned of my country. I am a believer of change which begins from oneself. So, if I am a good citizen, I am contributing to the positive change I want to see. My lawyer ambition greatly developed in the university. But it was not a constant growth. There were days when it shrunk out of my low self-esteem and pessimism. Fortunately, it always grows back. John Grisham was one reason why it grew back. His book, The Street Lawyer, deeply touched my heart.

I believe my calling (aside from marrying a rich guy and travelling the world) is to serve my people – those who have no money and beg for it, who have no homes to sleep at and share a bountiful noche buena on Christmas eve, those whose rights have been stomped on by others for too long that they forgot they actually have rights, those who have been forsaken even by their own government and thought that they would just die without obtaining justice that's rightfully theirs, those who need someone to fight a cause they cannot fight for themselves. I was born to serve my people. I feel that it is my way of changing the rotten system that I learned to despise in college. This is part of the reason for my desire to be a lawyer. But I would be lying if I tell you that that it's not because I also prize honor, pride and influence that come with the profession. It makes me happy whenever I imagine myself catering free services as a notary public for my hometown neighbors. I also want to give my parents the pride of having a lawyer for a daughter. People would look at them enviously and will whisper how they did well in raising their children. I want to be part of the legacy that my parents dream of leaving. If I become a lawyer, they would be the happiest persons, maybe even happier than me.

This year, I am finally taking the path towards that dream. I'm still in the process of adjusting but so far, I'm loving the whole experience. It's hard but it's also fun. I have never been this fulfilled and satisfied with myself.

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