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In Singing my First Year Blues

“I am such a failure!”

It was as if those words were put on repeat at the back of my mind yesterday. Not only was yesterday the last day of my first year as a law student, but yesterday was also the day the secretary of the Dean told me I failed in my Obligations and Contracts class with a seemingly apathetic shake of the head, “I’m sorry…”

I will not say her statement surprised me, for my almost-innate defense mechanism had me expecting the worst in all situations. Though I must admit, I did expect a little. I was in feeble hopes my efforts would be recognized after all those attempts to recite (revalida style) better and bounce back from the preliminary examination. After all, Dean Aligada couldn’t be that bad, right? I mean, though he was only known for arbitrarily passing 3 students at a time in all his classes, the demigod seriously couldn’t be that bad.


How wrong was I?

The possibility of getting debarred is probably the biggest fear of any law student, next to not passing the bar examination after graduation. To me, it was that and failing to meet the expectations everyone had on me – my parents, my relatives and my friends.

And hearing “Aww… Sayang naman…” (“Aww… Such a waste…”) from my mother did not help. To me, that struck harder than the secretary telling me I failed my 5-unit subject. Mom had other words of encouragement but for some reason, her previous statement filtered them. I love her to death and still think I have the best mom in the entire world; but could she not have told me she was proud of me for at least trying my best? Then again, she was a frustrated lawyer.

Every single day is a fight and a struggle with the constant and desperate attempt to stretch my worth 256 KB mental capacity of a brain in memorizing statutes, understanding doctrines, looking up (to-sound-smarter)-Latin terminologies, and reading bulks and bulks of cases; topped off with hard-core commuting to fill my already weak lungs with more Manila pollution everyday. Looming over me was an ominously heavy feeling I wasn’t going to meet the expectations people had on me, despite my best efforts to pass that particular class.

So I went out with my law school friends last night, poker-faced and ready to drown out my sorrow with some hard partying. I was in desperate need of diversion from the oppressive loneliness that was beginning to eat me up.

A little more than 10 shots of tequila and 2 bottles of Red Horse later, I was already looming over the washroom garbage can, puking my guts out in all my Catholic school-uniformed-glory. This continued 10 minutes later at the parking lot with my guy friends telling me to “let it out” while rubbing my back. I had never gotten to the point of bad drunk-puking (let alone in front of 5 other people and for academic problems at that! WTF, right?) until last night. And the best thing about puking, I realized, is how you have every excuse to let your tears freely fall.

Funny how it was with those tears and waking up ten hours later to read text messages from concerned friends that I realized the things that mattered more than excelling and breezily passing in life…

(And it’s that damn cliché I keep forgetting.)

It’s in knowing that you are not alone in what you go through, because you still have the people you need to tell you to it’s okay to “let it out” while rubbing you back, albeit seeing (and smelling) you at your worst. It is in knowing that it’s okay to stumble because you have certain people to catch you when others won’t, and it is in knowing that winning can be but a mere shallow fruit of a feat when you don’t have people witnessing and embracing you at your failures first.

So here's an open thank you to those who still believe in me and in themselves...


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Optimistically Disenchanted | TNB