Five Law School Myths DEBUNKED!

We’re sure you’ve all come here with your own set of ideas and expectations of what law school will be like. Some of them may scare you on what lies ahead. Others may just excite you to start your journey.

Before you get started, here are a number of ideas and expectations we, and many others before us, have all had before we started our own law school journeys. We bet you’ve come across these too. We’ll save you the trouble. They’re myths, and there’s more to them than what meets the eyes.

  1. Law school will get easier.

 

Law school is hard. That is one thing that is definitely not a myth. It does not get easier, but you will get better. Think the amount of readings you’ll have to face during Intro to Law is a lot right now? You won’t be thinking that after the semester is over. A hundred pages all for tomorrow may seem like a lot as of this very moment, but you’ll be able to condition yourself to read all that and more in no time at all. Recitations may have you shaking the first time around, but sooner rather than later you will be able to recite cases and provisions like a pro. By then, you won’t even have time to think about how hard everything has become, because coping with law school and doing the work has already become second nature to you.

  1. Law school is all about studying hard.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you study, you’ll get called for recitation to respond to a running question neither you nor the five other blockmates called before you know the answer to. Sure, it will bring you down after all the hours you spent reading the assignment, but don’t let it get to you. Pouring an hour or two on a single case may be considered studying hard, but when there are a dozen or more cases you need to prepare for along with it, you might have to rethink your study method. You see, studying hard is one thing, but studying smart is another. If you want to make it through the next four years of law school, we suggest that you do the latter. Take notes. Focus on the essentials. Make digests and reviewers if you must. Find out what strategy works best for you.

  1. Law school will eat up all my time.

Perhaps you’ve all given your family and friends a PSA saying that you may not be able to see them as much as you used to in the next four to five years. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see them at all. It’s all a matter of time management. Got a hobby or a sport you’re in to? Make time for it when you can. The daily life of a law school student, drenched with readings to absorb and recitations to prepare for, can be suffocating at times. We all need a life outside of it all to keep us in check. So when you’re done with your workload for the day, and you feel prepared enough for the next class, sneak in a date night with your significant other, or a hangout with your friends. Reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done, because you know you deserve it.

  1. Law school is a solitary journey.

You will never be alone in law school. You have your blockmates who will be with you every step of the way, and the upperclassmen who will be willing to help in whatever way they can. If you find a need for a study group, forming one with your blockmates and friends is just a click away. And even if you’re the type who likes to study alone, you’ll find yourself surrounded still with only the best support group through the barista in Starbucks who will soon enough get hold of your usual order for those late night study sessions, and your fellow students who study near your favorite spot in the library. This is all part of getting through law school – having the right team who has your back all the way.

  1. Law school is a matter of surviving on a daily basis.

Maybe you’ve heard the idea that being in law school is a matter of surviving on a daily basis. That’s not really a good mentality to keep around. For sure, you’ll get pretty bummed when you’ve prepared for twenty cases for a class, and then suddenly the professor announces a free cut. When you speed through a chapter in the commentary just to make it in time for class, you won’t really be doing yourself any favors. Think about everything you will go through from this day onward as preparation for the bar. So don’t just read for the sake of reading, and your next professor does look particularly scary. Read because you want to learn. Read because as early as now, you are already reaching for the stars.

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Unlearning: From the Mountains of the Sierra Madre and Back

From January 10 to 16, thirteen (13) Ateneo Law Students lived by the foothills – and some, by the mountains themselves – of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Amidst the people of the Agta-Dumagat tribes residing in that area, these select students underwent the first phase of their integration into the Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), the Sembreak Internship Program (SBIP).

The yearly SBIP, along with the annual Summer Break Internship Program, is the flagship program of the AHRC, and has consistently produced batches of interns with one goal in mind: to learn the law and serve the people.

With the recent calendar shift that took effect this academic year, up until a few months before the program proper itself, whether or not the SBIP would push through was still an uncertainty.  However, by the will of God, whatever problems with regard to this that was faced earlier on was resolved, and the organization now proudly welcomes “Samahang Spot,” the first SBIP batch to undergo the immersion in the month of January.

Organized by the previous year’s SBIP Batch Kabaloy, the internship program began with the Basic Orientation Seminar (BOS), or a crash course on the various sectors comprising human rights. In one day, the interns learned about the children’s sector. In another, the women’s, and another, the indigenous people’s. An esteemed lawyer representing each sector would discuss the main issues faced by these respective sectors, followed by the respective actions taken and the projects conducted by the AHRC and other such organizations to alleviate their plight. Aside from tackling some serious issues on human rights, BOS also provided the interns with an opportunity to bond with one another through a series of group dynamics and other integration sessions. Most importantly, however, the BOS served as a training ground for the immersion proper to be conducted with the Agta-Dumagats of General Nakar, Quezon.

The area of General Nakar, Quezon where the students, along with AHRC staff Kristina Merginio, is not new to the Sembreak Internship Program. A number of other batches have already conducted their own SBIP in the said area many years prior, so much so that AHRC has established a good relationship with the Agta-Dumagats, as represented by Ate Odic, a native Agta-Dumagat and a paralegal that has served for the AHRC for a number of years.

Predominantly in pairs, with some going off on their own, the select students were scattered around the areas of Barangays Maligaya, Sablang, and San Marcelino in the municipality of General Nakar. They were each assigned to a family of Agta-Dumagta descent with whom they will spend the entirety of their stay in the area with.

Normally, the SBIP Immersion proper itself does not have a set agenda in mind before going to their respective areas. This is in order for the students to fully immerse themselves with their respective host families and communities. However, with the 2016 national and local elections fast-approaching, they were tasked to conduct a joint Kuwentuhang Bayan and Voter’s Education session in their set communities.

During the BOS itself, the organization Legal Network for Truthful Elections or LENTE conducted a seminar for the students to prepare themselves for their deployment. They were met with varied results when it came to the deployment itself. Some were bombarded with questions with regard to the elections. Others, on the other hand, were silenced by how much more knowledgeable the people in their assigned communities were of the election process and the unfortunately unavoidable offenses against them that take place in their area.

Each and every one of those who took part in this year’s SBIP had very different experiences with the week they spent in the area. After it was over, they were all gathered for an evaluation, or the RNR, which allowed them to look back on all that they have seen and experienced in the few days they spent with their hosts, and process them on a deeper level.

This is when Samahang Spot, or the new batch of interns, was truly born. After having gained a wider awareness and a deeper sensitivity on the many Human Rights issues that exist, especially after having gone through the immersion, the AHRC has harvested another set of students with the same passion, and the same goals and desires in mind.