Towards a Better Me

I’m 26, turning 27 in a few weeks’ time, and today, I’m going back to school as a full-time student.

I’m happy and excited to finally devote my whole time and attention to the study of law after three semesters of rushing towards school for my 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. class from eight-hour workdays and fighting the urge to rest after class because I still have to study for tomorrow’s class. But I am also nervous and scared, now that I have no idea what is going to happen along the way, and am horrified because I am uncertain if things will be better after this. Will my future career as a lawyer be better than my accounting profession? Did I make the right decision in leaving my job and focus my efforts to making myself a lawyer? Will it be worth it or am I just wasting time and money for this endeavor?

As I was having these questions in my head, I am grateful that I saw this post. It uplifted my spirit and made me think that there is no need to be afraid.

 

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Photo is not mine. Credits to the owner.

True, I do not want to be stuck in the same place my whole life. To me, that is worse than not living at all. This quote helped me remember why I decided to go full-time with my law studies – I don’t want to be in the same place and do the same thing for the rest of my life.

I’ve always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. To become one, I had to let go of my job and get out of my comfort zone.  Thankfully, I have the best parents and siblings in the world, who will always support me in reaching my goals. I promise that I will become a lawyer, make them proud, and pay them back big time.

Also, I want to become like Harvey Specter.

Harvey_Life is this

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Remembering Atty. Skarlit C. Labastilla

It is always a mystery how a person can touch you so much in only a short span of time.

The First Meeting

I will always remember the first time you walked into the front door of Room 403. It was a Tuesday. It was my first day in law school and I already heard that our Constitutional Law professor is a tough one. You were wearing a blue cowl-necked blouse, black straight skirt, black close shoes, and no make-up. Simple. You walked briskly from the door to the platform, placed your keys (car keys, I guess) on the professor’s table, and said, “Some of you are standing, some of you are sitting and talking to each other.” Guilty, I slowly stood like my classmates but you tossed the stack of class cards to a chair at the front (some of which got scattered on the floor), told us to take our seats, get our class cards and instructed us to fill them up. We dutifully picked the cards up and each of us filled his or her own card, as instructed. You then placed a copy of the outline for the semester on the table, instructed us to photocopy it, told us that we will discuss the cases listed for week 1, and left, taking our class cards with you.

We were silent when the door closed after you. If someone was there to get a photograph of us, I’m sure we all had the same stunned reaction on our faces. After about five seconds, we started asking one another why you seemed so mad that not all of us were standing when you arrived. Almost all of us had the same answer – we thought you were also a student, not a professor. You did not even introduce yourself to us. I am still wondering if you really forgot to or if you just wanted us to speculate if the name on the course outline was yours.

Torture Tuesdays = Fulfilling Tuesdays

        I must admit, during that semester, Tuesday sounds like torture to me. One would not dare come into Atty. Labastilla’s Constitutional Law class unprepared. It would be like your life is at stake if you do that. She made it a point that we learn the provisions and the principles by ourselves and boy, she had a way of knowing whether we burned the midnight candle reading the cases or not.

When in her class, you would feel like you were in a courtroom. Your classmates were the members of the public (you would not mind your classmates because they are busy studying the next case while you are reciting). Atty. Labastilla was the judge and also the prosecutor. You were the accused and you are also the counsel of your own self.

Every discussion was as rigorous as you can imagine. When she asked you a question, you should answer immediately and your answer should have basis. I remember when a classmate just answered one of her questions without giving the legal basis. It was as if the wrath of Hera came down to Room 403.

But when you were able to answer her questions, expect to receive the highest of praise from her. She gave credit to students who helped her make the discussions go smoothly. She knew how to encourage a student to do more. She would really try to bring out the best in you. She would ask critical questions and expect you to give your best argument. She would motivate you to think out of the box, to see things in a different point of view, to view the facts at a macro-level kind of thinking. She taught us to learn the Constitution by heart.

You, Atty. Labastilla, were the modern female Socrates.

From a class down to four students

       We were more than ten in the class when the semester started. I guess we were around 15 students in that Constitutional Law class. After every meeting, students were dropping the subject. Yes, it was that difficult to get enough courage to face her every meeting.

Midterm examinations came and there were only four of us left to take the exams – I, Bam, MJ, and Wax. She said, “Wow, my class is like a Matira ang Matibay show.”

The Last Class Discussion

        Remember when you called me to recite the last case for the semester? I had the most terrible cold virus that week and I croaked when I opened my mouth to say something. It was embarrassing. Instead of making fun of me, you looked into my eyes (oh, how I long to see those eyes again!) and told me calmly, “It’s okay, just a few more minutes and we are out of here.”  That moment, I saw a different Atty. Labastilla. That moment, she was not the tough woman that I know but a tender, caring one. In those eyes I saw a comforting kindness. That moment, I saw the maternal side of her.

Heartbreaking news

I wish I did not open that message. I wish I did not get the sad news. I wish it was just a prank, that the news of your passing is not true. I was dumbfounded.

No, this is just a mistake, I told myself. I needed confirmation. I checked her sister’s Facebook account and that was when the sad truth slapped me.

Trying to find the words to say goodbye

Among the many things I like about you was your use of nicknames in addressing your students. No other professor will call me Che in class again, I guess.

I can’t describe the feeling of knowing that no one is on the other end to answer my emailed questions.

I still cannot believe that you are now gone. You were one of the best professors that I had. You know what? I was looking forward to enrolling in your class this coming semester. It would be another torture but I do not care if my heart fall out of my rib cage during recitations. It is all worth it.

Atty. Labastilla, I just want you to know that it was a pleasure meeting you. It was a great honor to be one of your students. You left a huge hole in my heart. I hope you are happy wherever you are now. Rest in peace, Ma’am.

Officially a Writer

Last week, I got this email…

email

The email

…which marked the official start of my business magazine writing career!

Meaning…

…me-time on weekends will diminish as I have to research about the assigned topics and meet the deadlines for submission.

…I have to keep myself updated with the goings-on in the economy, businesses, taxation laws, and even politics.

…time-management is a big pressure now – I have to balance my time between work, studies, and writing.

…my articles will be read by business executives and I’m going to be an in-demand business writer someday!

…and that I have to start working on an article NOW.

 

Descent

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One of the trails in Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City, Albay, Philippines

 

Whenever I get home to Bicol, our family visits the Kawa-Kawa Hill, a tourist spot in a nearby town famous for its cauldron-shaped hilltop and Stations of the Cross with larger than life statues. The Stations are placed in a way where devotees should hike uphill and around the hilltop to get to the first Stations and trek the way down to the last Stations. The slopes can be really steep at some spots so both the ways up and down are a struggle. The photo above is one of the pictures I took during our last visit there.

This week’s photo challenge is about descent which reminded me of our journeys in Kawa-Kawa Hill.

Shaking My Brain Cells

My aunt asked if I would be interested to be a contributor in a business magazine. I said yes, and promised to send an article or articles tomorrow morning. My problem now is that I have so many ideas to write about accounting and business but I could not get past one paragraph. My brain cells are in tangle and I could not connect one idea to the next, not to mention being busy moving my blog to WordPress.

So I am writing this post to jiggle my sleeping brain which somehow ignored the effects of caffeine in the mug of coffee I just consumed in five (maybe six?) gulps. And while I am writing the previous sentence, I looked at the mug and read the group of words printed on it. The word sense is in it but the sentence doesn’t make sense (at first glance, at least).

The happy mug

The happy frog mug

But now that I read it again, I discerned that sense of happy means happiness. So this mug is telling me that every day is full of happiness with a mug of coffee.

And there goes ten minutes of my time. Why it took like forever to upload the photo from my phone, I could not explain. Now I should get back to do some serious writing and hope that I finish an article or two before the day ends.

What I Think About “Aleph” by Paulo Coelho

AlephAleph by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admit, I was baffled at first. I bought this book sometime in May 2013 and found the first three pages a jumble of words. So I let it sit on the shelf for over a year and decided to start reading it on my way to the office last Tuesday. Then I begun to understand Paulo Coelho’s intention to take the reader with him on his journey towards self-discovery. When he started talking about reincarnation, a topic that have always intrigued me, I fell in love.

In this book, the author talks about finding his passion in connecting with the persons and things around him, which he thinks got lost, in his journey via the Trans-Siberian railway. In this trip, he met Hilal, who he later found out is the same woman he loved five hundred years ago. Together, they discovered an Aleph, which helped Coelho explain why Hilal feels so attracted to him.

Like Coelho’s other works, this book is filled with uplifting words. Among my favorites is this one:

“Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you want to do. Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes. Because of that, their work often isn’t recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely.”

Reading Aleph made me wonder again about the existence of reincarnation. This is a fascinating thing for me because I myself am amazed about how and why I feel so “at-home” just by looking at pictures of London. I feel this inner peace and bliss that makes me feel like I’ve had quite a lovely lifetime in there before when in fact, I’ve never been out of the country (in this lifetime, at least). Did I spend one of my past lives in London before, or is the lifetime I am living in now preparing (or promising) me that I am going to be in London in my next?

Maybe I should stop thinking about the past and future lives. One of the things that this book taught me is to live and believe in the present. Life is one rainy forest and we have to deal not only with the rain, but with the creatures that God has put in the jungle with us. This book taught me to never stop dreaming because in the end, only the dreamers can survive the never-ending chaos in the forest. I want to be a dreamer who fights until the end to realize my dreams because…

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If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book hit me with great impact. The wetness of my pillow is proof enough. Even a part of my blanket is drenched with my tears.

Finding a good book is delightsome. Finding a good book that sets all your emotions in disarray, makes you wonder about life’s what ifs, and makes you beg for one more page,is heavenly.

Being a music-lover (classics and everything instrumental, particularly),this book got me from the first chapter. Everything was peaceful. Then, for what seemed like a blink of an eye, complete confusion. If I Stay shocked me when I got to the accident part. I don’t read book summaries and other whatnots written on a book’s back cover before I read the book so I had no idea that something big was going to happen. The events were so vividly described I felt I was on the scene of the accident itself. I felt like I was transported into the book’s own world. That was when I realized that this book is one of a kind.

Gayle Forman did a wonderful job by writing the book in the first person perspective. Personally, it made me feel Mia’s joys and pains vicariously. Forman’s profound writing abilities aside, writing the book in Mia’s point of view made an unbreakable bond between the book and the reader. The book’s brilliant simplicity is so captivating and the characters are really realistic it’s like I was reading about the life of someone I know. This is the first Gayle Forman novel I’ve read and she got me scheduling a bookstore visit tomorrow to buy more of her books.

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