life after 5.0

i flunked a 3 unit course last sem. i found out about it when i checked my mail last week. it read: your average is 3.25, the final grade that will be recorded is 5.0.

i refreshed the page hoping to see another grade, but the page showed the same figure. so 5.0 it is.

i stood up, ate supper, and went up to my room. i was ok, i thought. so he did give me a 5.0. so what? the phone rang.

i don't know how she noticed but my tita called to check on me. i didn't look well, she said. she asked if i have a problem. i said no at first. but after some prodding, i burst. i.flunked.nego. suddenly, the world fell apart.

how did i fail? i studied so hard for that subject, more than any other subject perhaps. i read two books. i attended his classes. i studied the entire sem. where did i go wrong?

then i thought about all the efforts i've exerted since first year. the agony of keeping yourself awake to finish your readings, of waking up with swollen eyes, of facing the professor's wrath just to earn yourself decent grades. heck, i wasn't even aiming for laude; i was just hoping to keep those grades decent. now it's all gone, just like that.

my parents called the moment i texted them about it. how do you explain to your parents, who are working abroad to send you to law school, that you flunked a subject? well, i didn't have to explain. they were more worried about me feeling so bad about it that i might not be able to accept it. they knew 90 for me was low in high school and elem. and 2.0 is the only lowest grade i got in college. but 5.0? it's a first. (lang ya, di man lang dumaan ng 3.0 o 4.0)

in fact, they were so worried they called 3 times and texted countless other times just to make sure i'm ok. my tita checked on me twice, suggesting that i go out, but i preferred to stay inside my room. they were perhaps alarmed that i might get depressed. i assured them i'm ok. hell, i'm not going to kill myself over this.

so instead, i took the pieces charivari will sing the next day, and rehearsed until my head hurt. i tried sleeping and when i couldn't, i got up, took a shower and went to mass at 6am. the priest just said it right: despite all things that's happening, good things will come. i felt incredibly light on my walk home. everything will be better, i thought. omnia in bonum.

so off i went to the charivari gig that friday morning for up law's alumni homecoming. afterwards, i invited my friends to watch beowulf. around 15 of us went on a field trip to trinoma.

the next day i watched one more chance with rhea at eastwood.

on sunday, i put down my books and joined a 2-on-2 basketball match with my cousins and my brother. i've been ignoring their invitations for weeks because i had to study. this time around, i had nothing to lose, so i played, sank my first free throw and three point shot in a decade. that's what you call tsamba hehe.

on monday, it was back to school again, the start of the second sem.

if there's anything to be gained from this experience, as my friend/spiritual guide would say, it's that things will never be in your hands all the time. it's also a good way to learn humility and to reexamine what your intentions are. what am i in law school for?

i went to law school because i want to be a lawyer. but i would've wanted to work first, as a journalist, my other passion. i went to law school immediately after college because i passed LAE, and sayang naman if i didn't push through. i studied hard because i was off to a good start, sayang naman if i slacked off. i joined an internship program last summer not because i'm excited to work for a firm but because they only invited the top ten in the batch, sayang naman if i didn't grab the opportunity. and had this not happened, i would probably end up working in a big firm, never mind what i really want to do, because sayang naman if i don't take the job. now i've got nothing to lose. maybe i could finally start doing things i really really want to do, and not because sayang naman.

perhaps i should thank the prof?

well, so many negative things have been said about him. he flunked 30 of us and we never saw our bluebooks and our recit cards. he never showed up to those who wished to talk to him. i honestly don't think talking to him would do any good. and there's so much more i shall not bother to listen to. what for? no matter how bad he is, he is still the prof, who, in up law, is god. and there's nothing we can do about it.

prof. leonen once said, a prof may give you a 5.0 but that should not define you. that may be his impression of you at that particular moment but that doesn't make you a bad or good person that you are.

can't agree more.

i flunked nego, but 5.0 shall not define me. the world did not change and those i love still love me. and yes, avena gave me a 1.75. for me, that's all that matters. (humility is a work in progress hehe.)

cross-posted at: driven 2


gem hirang said...

Jobito, thanks for this. After nego, I was thinking na wala namang point yung hard work, sleepless nights, and ulcer-inducing lifestyle natin if we'd only end up with nothing but 5s. Your way of looking at this whole thing is healthier. :D

jobert said...

you're most welcome gem. i wrote this entry partly to help myself and partly to help others see the other side of failing. i hope it helped you in any way. tuloy lang, we have nothing to lose! =)

Anonymous said...

ei jobert, you've said it all. you've just captured what im feeling right now - having to reassess my own purpose in life as well. from journalism, here i am working as a service desk analyst.that's almost a 360 degree turn.from masscomm to IT.
well, i thank you. that gives me just another reason why i should pursue blogging hehehe

wernicke said...

Hey Jobert,

Just hang in there. Keep on studying. If you really want to be a lawyer, stay the course. Your best revenge is when, during the bar exams, you will be able to answer the Nego commercial law questions which will only confirm that your 5.0 did not reflect what you really learned in that class. That 5.0 is in no way a measure of your worth as a person, and is also not an indication how you will fare as a lawyer. Who knows, some hiring partner of one of the big firms will still take his chance on you despite the smudge that 5.0 left on your transcript. After all, in reality, your grades will only bring you as far as landing a slot in an esteemed firm. Your academic reputation could be wiped out clean even on your first day. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

hi jobert!
im ur schoolmate in highschool..
you know what youve been an inspiration of many students in SDLC...esp our batch..we believe that u will be a lawyer someday!!for the teacher who failed you, maybe he cannot accept that you are smarter than your teacher right?lol..
stay humble and smart!
amping permi!

Jaja said...

were you at malcolm madness? The freshmen skit - "they werent gods before" - is somewhat comforting =)

jobert said...

hi all, thanks for the encouraging words. though i don't know some of you personally, i'm glad you took time to post a comment. i'm much better now. more than becoming a lawyer, i hope to become a good one someday. =)

blurred said...

I just saw this now through Prof Te's blog.

When that many people fail under the same prof, I think it's time the college start thinking about revoking his tenure. Just think that when we do pass the bar, it will be in no way thanks to JJ Disini (I specifically refuse to call him professor for the simple reason that I learned absolutely nothing from him in Oblicon). I won't even bother wishing you good luck coz I'm pretty sure you'll do fine.

Kevin San Agustin

Anonymous said...

Talk about being taken back in time.

Caught your blog through Vincula, and it sent me reeling back to eight years ago, my junior year. Like you, I got my first five-point-oh in law school. Not only that, I also got my first four, and my second five. And let me tell you, it wasn't easier to take the second time around.

I admire your attitude, bro. A lot of people from law school should take a leaf out of your book. I said it back then, and I'll say it again, grades are, and have never been, the be-all and end-all, especially in our chosen profession. It's just a number.

I don't think you need any further words of consolation or encouragement, but for others similarly situated (as I'm guessing you're not the only one in your batch, or in the entire Malcolm community), I'll have my piece. Notwithstanding my four and two fives, I passed the bar the first time, with a decent grade at that, and that I eventually landed work in a place where I wanted to be, where I'm now enjoying myself thoroughly (well, the pay's relatively low, but like grades, salary is not, and should not, be the be-all and end-all; it's just a number). Our pal Jobert here fortuitously discovered the secret not only to a successful career in law, but to surviving life with flying colors.

Keep it up, bro.

jobert said...

kevin! kamusta na? i'm sure you'll do well in the bar also, but good luck nonetheless.
to anonymous: thanks for the kind words. yours is an inspiring story too. i hope that like you, i'll also end up working and enjoying at the same time. hope to meet you soon!

Anonymous said...

dear jobert,

siyempre itong blog post mo ang usap usapan sa malcolm ngayon thanks in part to prof te's blog post about it. anyway, gusto ko lang sabihin, ang galing ng pagkakanta natin nung umaga ng alumni homecoming! heheh

usapang seryoso, salamat sa blog post mong ito. ipinaalala niya sa akin kung gaano kahalagang hindi mawala ang sarili mo habang nasa law school ka. minsan kasi yun ang nangyayari, masyado tayong kinakain ng mundo ng law. pero mas marami pang mahalagang bagay. ang grado, isang aspeto lang yan ng buhay law, at lalung lalo na sa kaso mo, hindi ibig sabihin na tunay na repleksyon ng kung gaano ka nga ba kahusay.

good luck at God bless. 3 sem na lang. kaya yan!


jobert said...

salamat ethel! i'm glad my article had that effect on you. good luck din sa'yo. 1 sem na lang, or, 3 months to go!

paulus said...

I did not get a 5.0 as a final grade in law school. The lowest I got was a 4.0 that later became a 3. My nego grade was a 3w.

My undergrad record was more interesting. It could be used to decorate a Christmas tree in lieu of Christmas lights because of the myriad 5.0s and 4.0s strewn across the semesters. Summer of my undergrad second year was when I received my first grade of 5.0 After that, hardly a semester passed by without me obtaining a grade of 5. There were two subjects where I received a doctorate; I took these subjects three times before finally passing with a grade of 3. In my third take on of these subjects, I knew the answers to questions propounded by the teacher during class hours simply because I heard them twice before already.

My point: I think you would not get any more 5's. I don't think you'll receive as many 5's as I got. And seeing that I am still surviving after all those 5's, I am sure that a single 5 can not put a good person down

Joan said...

Hi Jobert,

I read your article in PDI and while I may not know you or your professor's basis for giving you (in particular), a 5.0, it seems to me that when 30 students in a class get a 5.0 (mass singko), the blame must be placed entirely in the hands of the professor. It is inconceivable to me that most of the class cannot get the rudiments of the course if the teacher did not impart the subject well.

I graduated from the College in 2005, and while I never experienced getting a 5.0, I have friends who have, some of which were given the grade without any basis whatsoever. And, while I have always believed that in law school, as with many other things, you have to give the 'decider' (in this case, the professor), no choice but to give you a good grade (i.e., be super excellent that the professor will have no choice but to give you a decent grade, even if he does not want to, maybe out of a personal bias or grudge, or he's just plain mean), I realize that this is tenable only when the basis for the grading scheme is transparent and regularly made known to you. If not, then you are right, that grade does not define you.

As you know, the basis for hiring in the top firms right now is rank, and therefore, grades, which sucks. While I honestly feel that I deserved the decent grades I got (pinaghirapan ko talaga yun), I do acknowledge (and have always said so) that there were people in my batch smarter than me, and they have gone on to become brilliant lawyers.

Good luck and hope to bump into you in court, or elsewhere, when you become a lawyer, as I know you will. :)


jobert said...

thanks paulus, interesting story you've got there. i'm amazed at your fighting spirit. i think i should also learn from you hehe.
joan, are you THE joan de venecia? pardon this comment but if you are, wow, i'm thrilled. i was a freshie when you took the bar. i remember seeing you during the 4th sunday while i was handing out last minute reviewers. you were so calm and composed, you even asked for my age when i addressed you all with po. but if you're not, doesn't matter. i'm still looking forward to bump into you in court soon!

julzboy said...

hey jobert,

got to read your blog through sir te's link at his multiply site.

anyway, i'm pretty sure we've come across each other in campus more than once (given that i was probably ahead of you by just one year). unfortunately, i don't think we know each other as we may never have been formally introduced.

nevertheless, i'm offering a cyber handshake for this incredible blog.

you've got guts, pare.

i salute you. goodluck in your remaining months.

julzboy '07

jobert said...

thanks julz. the sad thing about law school is that we never get the chance to know everyone coz we have to study most of the time. here's hoping we meet in court someday. good luck with the bar results!

had a five at up law too said...

kala ko si danicon...jj pala, never had him.

danicon gave me my only five ever-- it was in corpo pa...

avena gave me a nice grade din...

i'm a lawyer na now and was able to stay alive sa up after the five...

when we got the grades...i thought i was gonna die... i don't know how i was able to drive home and my ma didn't know how to comfort me...

reading your entry... parang it's all coming back to me... the dread na ma-qpi and sadness...

la lang nothing intelligent to say sorry for rambling...

its real good you're not letting this get to you. just curious-- will you take a class under THE prof again or will you be seeking alternative venues (let's not call it forum shopping hehe)

meron kasing kwento before (danicon story again).... there was this a guy na binigyan daw niya ng 5... this guy-- sabi si argee guevarra daw... took and took danicon... until he got a 1.75 daw sa third try daw... di ko lang lam kung urban legend yun

jobert said...

hi there. i haven't heard about the argee guevarra story, so i wouldn't really know if siya nga yun or if totoo yun. neway, i had danicon for succession (luckily, i passed) and i have him now for corpo (mag-aaral talaga akong mabuti *cross-fingers*). as to your question, we're trying to look for other profs kasi sya lang nagtuturo nun so far. but if wala, i might have to take the subject under him next sem. i just hope he doesn't take the article personally. thanks for your comment btw. =)