The Moot Life

Mr. President, your Excellencies, good afternoon. My name is Maria Leonila Villegas, first counsel for applicants…

Hello world! The prodigal blogger is back again for some life updates. I haven’t written for almost a year but I have a valid excuse, I promise.

Aside from the usual shenanigans, I have recently embarked on a new adventure called mooting. In the past 6 months, I have competed in three Moot Court competitions here and abroad. Yeah, I’m crazy like that. Moot Court is a bit difficult to explain, so I just end up saying that I competed in debate competitions. But for those that are curious about what Moot Court is, here’s the Wikipedia article. Haha.

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Throwback Entry from November 15, 2007

Today was a boring day at work so I ended up reading old blog posts from college. Guess what I stumbled upon! Hahahaha.

Not a lot of people know that I actually took the UP LAE twice, one in 2007, and one in 2011. This was my 21 year old self talking about how scary the future is.

tomorrow, I will finally do something concrete for my future. [11/15/07 – 12:25 pm]
When I was a kid, when anyone asks me what I wanted to be in the future, I always said that I wanted to be a lawyer. It seemed like the perfect job — most lawyers are sort of well off, and no one messes with lawyers, because they know how to protect themselves. At the same time, I’ve always admired people who could speak so forcefully without being rude, people who are eloquent and very good with words.

But when it came to a point when I realized how hard it is to become one, suddenly, it was like I didn’t want to become one anymore. Having to go through 4 more years of school (and this time, it won’t be like how I got by college. I’m really gonna have to STUDY.), and having to read lots and lots and lots of readings and shit did not really excite me. It’s like.. I know I want to be a lawyer in the future, but I didn’t want to go through all the things that will make me one.

And so I left it up to fate. (In other words, hindi ko na siya inisip, and pretended that the dilemma did not exist. Hahaha.)

Now, when I’m suddenly becoming open to my other career choices, my dad comes barging in and orders me to take law school entrance exams, regardless of whether I wanted to become one or not.

So that’s why, tomorrow, I’m going to be submitting my UP Law application form.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. I’m nervous because regardless of whether I do go to law school, submitting the application form is already a big step towards my future. Sabi nga ni Tina kanina, at least, I’m finally doing something concrete about it. I’m nervous because it feels like.. it’s really going to happen. It’s becoming a real possibility for me. I’m also nervous because I might be embarking on something that I don’t really want to go through, and in a sense,closing all doors to other things that I may want to do in the future.

But at the same time, I’m also just cool about it all. There’s still the question of whether I’ll pass the test or not (given that apparently, there’s a math section, and I TOTALLY SUCK AT MATH. I don’t even remember a thing about Ma11.), so there’s still a chance that I may not be able to go to law school after all.

I’m excited too, because this may turn out as another blessing in disguise, just like how I got into the Ateneo. (My dad first forced me to go here, despite my wanting to go to DLSU, but I ended up enjoying every bit of my stay in Ateneo.)

In the end, what am I to do? Obviously, if you know me, you’d know what I’m probably doing right now. (Yes, I’m pretending the dilemma doesn’t exist.) I’m just letting fate decide things for me, since I can’t really decide on this for myself.

I’m going through with the application, but I’m absolutely refusing to study for the test. I’ll answer the test with whatever knowledge I have right now. If I’m meant to go there, then I’ll pass. If I’m not, then maybe its time to look for a job. 🙂

Of Sunflowers and Dreams.

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When I had this photo taken over the summer, little did I know that this was going to be my first and only picture with the sunflowers of UP Diliman. You see, these sunflowers have become the symbol of graduating in UP, as they line University Avenue during March, and bloom exactly during the graduation season. If you’re a UP Diliman graduate, chances are, you have a photo with these sunflowers too.

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One with the 110

Tomorrow I march (not really march, but more of.. sit? What do people do in a vigil anyway?) with my fellow UP Law students to protest the unfair implementation of the College’s academic delinquency rules. As it stands, 110 students are in danger. That’s 110 dreams that the College intends to shatter. 110 futures that will be put in limbo.

I side with my co-students not only because I am part of this number, but because I cannot stand that the institution that prides itself in teaching the law in a grand manner, also treat its students this way. Surely, this is n’t the “grand manner” of Justice Holmes’ making. The College taught us a greater appreciation for our rights and for due process. Here we are, calling for the exact same thing — due process and respect for our rights as students.

Why I Want to be a Lawyer

First of all, hello Andy. I know you’re reading this. This entry will be boring for you because this will have nothing to do with my lovelife. Hahaha.

That being said, with all the hullabaloo going on now in the College, I am left to thinking why I believe I am worthy to remain there. After all, with all the resistance going on, the easy thing to do would be to just give up and conform to whatever the College says, even if it means agreeing to something that’s in violation of due process. (Okay, enough legal jargon. Hahaha.) But no. Just this one time I am willing to go through the dirty, messy road, just because I know this is meant for me. After all, you gotta fight for the the best things in life, right?

My whole life has been a series of missed opportunities, second chances and meant to be’s. I know that I’m meant to be where I am right now. I would have passed the LAE the first time, if I weren’t. This is my second chance, and I’m willing to fight for it.

Why? One, I’ve never fought for anything my whole life. I’ve lived a relatively sheltered life and my only “hardship,” if you could even call it that, is the 6 months I spent on television, losing weight in front of the whole Philippines. This whole law school thing is my defining moment — my mind, my body, my willpower and my spirit will be tested, and I plan to succeed.

Second, call me idealistic, but I do want to help my country and give back. No, I don’t want to be a politician. I just wanna clear that out as early as now. Seeing all the injustice around me (okay fine, on TV,)  I can’t help but feel like I need to do something about it. It takes one person to fight for you, to make you believe that you’re worth fighting for. Which is why I plan on working for the Public Attorney’s Office, eventually.

Third, even if life in law school is like hell on earth, there’s really nowhere I’d rather be.

That is why I’m fighting for this, as hard as I can. One way or another, I will get to graduate with a Sablay with that purple thing on it, to add to my existing collection.

Top, L-R: Grade School and High School CSA Graduation Pictures
Bottom, L-R: Ateneo Toga Grad Pic, Ateneo Graduation Creative Shot

Midterms, schmidterms.

Hello world! Surpriiiiseeee! I’m still alive. 🙂 Taking a break from studying for my Legal History midterms just to tell you that. Well, yeah. There.

I’ve been in law school for a little over two months now (two months and 6 days to be precise) and I’m sort of getting the hang of it. Now that everything’s been taken care of in my past life, I can finally concentrate on my studies. Seriously, I have a newfound respect for working students now. It definitely isn’t easy. :s

Between reading cases which more often than not just much ado about nothing, and trying to memorize provisions of the Revised Penal Code (READ: TRYING), my blockmates entertain the hell out of me. Seriously, they’re crazy. They get me laughing my pants off most of the time.
Anyway there really isn’t any point to this entry (haven’t you figured that out yet?), so I’m going to go back to studying now. Hopefully next time I’ll have something more worthy to write about. (God, I hope law school hasn’t made me boring yet!)

And oh, by the way, I’m writing this through the mobile blogger app. I figured I’d get to update more often with this. Let’s see. 🙂

UP Law Block E 2016

Law School 101

It’s been three weeks since I started school, and I can honestly say that I’ve never read this much [serious] stuff in my whole life. I read a lot, yes. But I read fiction, and those I can finish in 2 days. Now I read cases and articles. (Sometimes interesting, sometimes very interesting, most of the time just boring. Hahaha.)

Yeah, that’s my new adventure, to be Leigh, the Lawyer. (Kinda sounds like Dora the Explorer, doesn’t it? Haha.)

Malcolm Hall, home of the UP College of Law

Three weeks in the UP College of Law has already taught me a lot. Surprise, surprise. And I don’t mean law-related things; these are lessons in how to be a resilient person in a very, very tough world. They weren’t kidding when they told us it would be hard. I remember sitting in the auditorium, listening to our orientation speakers and thinking, “Why the hell are they so nega about it all??” Lo and behold, they were all telling the truth. :s

Law school is not the place for cramming. I’ve always been proud of my cramming skills until now. No matter how good you are at cramming, there is no way you could get to understand what you’re reading in less than an hour (unless you have bionic memory and you’re a very fast reader). Cases, regardless of how short they are, tend to be complicated at times, and legal terms are scattered everywhere in the text. To fully understand the text, well, you have to understand the legal terms as well.

Time management is very, very important. My cellphone timer is no longer used to time my workouts, but to measure how much time I spend reading a case/article/chapter. I measure my days in hours — how much time I spend doing personal things (driving, preparing for school, eating meals), studying and sleeping. This I have yet to master; for someone like me who doesn’t like structure, well, this needs a bit of getting used to. Sadly, the sleeping part gets to be sacrificed more often that I would like to. 😦

Law school is a blank slate. Tabula rasa, as they say. People don’t care if you were a cum laude, a mediocre student, or an ex-reality show personality (hahaha). In school, you are all equal. Everyone goes through sleepless nights and bad recits. This means for some, kailangan bawasan ng yabang ang katawan. No matter how good you were in your undergrad studies, the professors here are waaaay smarter than you, so don’t ever think you can outsmart them and that you’re better than them. You are not equals. They are the gods of Olympus and we are just humans wanting to be like them. For the others, this means an opportunity to redeem themselves from mediocrity. After all, it was previously mentioned in our orientation that the school accepted only 8% of its applicants for our batch. If we were good enough to pass, well certainly, they must have seen potential there somewhere. Kailangan din ng konting yabang sometimes.

Three weeks is just that — three weeks. I know I’m bound to learn more things, and unlearn some of the things I already know. I’m keeping this list open, so that I can correct myself in the future, if my assumptions now turn out to be wrong. 🙂