October is the petsa de peligro of all Bar reviewees. It’s the time when you’re both supposed to have already memorized what you’ve read and cram as many new information (i.e. tips, possible Bar questions) as you can.
This is merely a reflection of the year that was.
“A law student must begin his Bar review on the first day of Law school.” Common Words of Wisdom from our Law professors. Of course, we just took them as words.
That is until the start of Bar review proper.
Mine started during 4th year 2nd sem. Yep, 2nd sem. Why? I entered 4th year during the 2nd sem while I was also (secretly, so I thought) the Student Council President. That was equivalent to Law school suicide because extra-curriculars=failing grades.
By the grace of God, I passed that sem with (not so) flying colors. But I made that sem in one piece. I got through the first sem, too. But those two sems didn’t pass by without me banging my head on the wall and saying, “You should’ve mastered this in 1st year.”
1. So, first reflection: Bar Exams preparation doesn’t–cannot– begin during Bar review proper.
You cannot read full text cases and start to memorize new provisions. That’s the reason your profs in your Freshman year assigned them to you in the first place. There’s just no time for that during Bar review. You just stick with the case doctrine or applicable law.
2. It’s not going to be a smooth ride (but you’ll get all the help you’ll need)
You should’ve learned that in law school. It chews you up, swallows you whole, and spits you out so you could it can mold you into the best version of yourself.
The profs that I thought hated me during my first three years in Law school totally differed during the 4th year review. They supported me and were genuinely happy to have me in their class, especially when I topped their exams.
It made me realize that all my profs wanted was for me to become a lawyer. That was when I non-stop barraged them with questions and for advice. When the pre-Bar review started, they even allowed me to sit-in during their lectures before I left for Manila.
Take advantage of that kind of support system.
3. There will always be surprises
The Supreme Court provides us with a Bar syllabus to limit the topics we should include in our review. But that doesn’t mean they can’t pull a fast one. 2014 Bar, they included jurisprudence not included in the syllabus.
2016 Bar, every subject except for Labor Law and Legal Ethics were extended. We’ve prepped writing (and staying alert) for 8 hours. But 9 hours is another hour you should psyche yourself up.
4. Magastos ang Bar review
Especially if, like me, you’re fond of frequenting coffee shops and study centers to wake your brain up. On the average, I spent around five hundred pesos (Php 500) per day just to study and eat.
Personally, I took my review at UP Diliman. While there, I stayed in a condominium complex. I used Uber most of the time.
I’d rather not think of how much I spent during the entire duration of my review because I’d just feel guilty. All I said to myself was: “You better not take this exam again!”
5. You’ll feel fragile and strong at the same time
My dad suffered a stroke during the first half of my Bar review. My then-boyfriend accused me of using the Bar as an excuse to be miserable and irritable.
I had never felt anything like it. I felt depressed, nerve-wracked, friendless, and alone.
I went home for 3 times during the review and stayed home for around 2 weeks each. Imagine that ate up more than a month.
When Bar month came, I had to make up for lost time. I only took half-day breaks during Mondays and immediately went back to reading for the next Sunday.
The best part about the Bar, though, is no matter how dumb you think you were, if you really prepared, you’ll see that you actually know quite a lot.
6. You can make lasting friendships (or break long ones)
As I alone reviewed in UP, I had no friends or classmates I could confide in. Good thing a common friend connected me to my housemate. And it turned out that the latter had her classmates living in the same complex.
We’d study together, ride the trike to UP, eat at Maginhawa or Katips, and pig out at our condo. There were A LOT of tears shed during that period. And you can’t not be friends with people who’ve seen you cry.
The Bar review is such a unique experience that only those who’ve been with you during that time would understand your idiosyncrasies. I gained friends there that I would never have had I not left my comfort zone.
On the other hand, I’ve heard of the closest of friends whose friendships were broken during the Bar review.
So, in conclusion, the Bar makes you a little crazy. Just don’t let it get to your head. 😉
“If you work towards a goal, let nothing stop you, not even yourself.”
God bless our Bar candidates! AMDG