5th bar weekend

3-5 october 2009

the skies were gray when i proceeded to orchid suites on the first saturday of october. pepeng was threatening to bring heavy winds and rain all over the metro, but whatever hopes we had of having the exams postponed just like what happened the week before (when ondoy hit metro manila) were quickly dashed by an announcement from midas (the supreme court spokesperson) the day before: "the bar exams will push through." there was no turning back.

while part of me wanted to end the misery as soon as possible, part of me didn't want the whole thing to end just yet. maybe i wasn't ready for the exams (who will ever be ready?) or maybe i have gotten used to the routine of waking up each morning, preparing for another day of studying, that if everything ended that sunday, what will i do next? haha, silly, i know. the geek in me just could not resist: i was starting to miss studying even before it ended.

or maybe it was the fear that after the bar exams, we now have to fend for ourselves: work, work, work. goodbye daily allowance. goodbye "student" privileges.

or maybe it was the thought that the familiar faces known as the block, which had become our source of strength day in day out for the past four and a half years, will have to go separate ways.

or maybe it was the idea that after the exams, there was nothing else we could do about our fate. we either pass, or fail, and everything will no longer be in our hands.

whatever it is, the storm that was brewing inside accounted for that eery feeling: there was excitement for sure, but there was also anxiety.

the tension eased up a bit when i finally entered the room full of blockmates. the first person i looked for was jen. i knew she was deeply affected by the floods the week before. she was unusually ok. for a person who lost everything (save for her reviewer, codal, and the ever-important bar permit), she was smiling and joking with everyone as if nothing happened. amazing how she was able to cope. had it been me, i wouldn't have known how to finish the exams.

judging from the banter inside the room, it seemed as if there were no exams the next day. i was trying to cram legal forms for a while but i soon joined the fray and was taking pictures just like the old times. i thought, if these were to be our last study moments together, better capture them on film, er, on cam.

rains started to pour later that afternoon. dusk fell and before we knew it, we were walking our way to la salle early sunday morning. this is it, the final day.

the hours went by quickly, but even moreso with legal ethics. with only three hours, the examiners asked for four legal forms, the lawyer's oath, and a whole set of questions worth 1 or 2 points each. my hands were already hurting when, at 20 minutes before 5, i still had two legal forms to do and some questions left to answer. i scribbled as fast as i could, never mind the margins, never mind the hurried handwriting, never mind if my answers were as short as one or two sentences. i have to finish this exam and hope for partial points, i thought.

luckily enough, i managed to finish just as the bell rang. i left the room and looked for my other batchmates. we went out of la salle and marched through taft as one group. there, waiting for us, was a group of familiar faces, the same people who'd asked how the exams went and the same persons who'd tell us everything will be fine. they're also the same ones who, for the past few months, had taken turns to provide us, bar examinees, with whatever help we needed. as a barops volunteer myself, i know how difficult it must have been for them especially when things didn't always go smoothly. yet, at the end of the day and at that precise moment, their mere presence was what mattered most.

after the temporary euphoria at taft otherwise known as the salubong, i went back to orchid with my blockmates. we posed for some pictures but the exhaustion and the frustratingly lengthy ethics exam were dampening our spirits. we decided to rent a room and make the most of our stay at the hotel, this time with no exams to worry about. we went to dinner together and headed back to the hotel. peach and i attended the toned down beerops and smuggled some booze. but instead of drinking, we ended up talking well into the wee hours of the morning. (peach got to bring home a box of booze hehe, peace peach).

we woke up late the next day. 8 am is late for any bar examinee; but we were bar examinee no more so we stayed in bed for a bit. ah, how good it felt to get more sleep without worrying about the day to come. quoting cj: ang sarap ng pakiramdam na gigising ka sa umaga na walang iniisip kung ilang pages ang kailangang basahin o kung ilang subjects pa ang kailangang aralin.

it was already afternoon when i arrived home the monday after the exam. i could feel the heat, the kind that breaks deep into your skin and makes you weak. but for some reason, i was upbeat and excited and was anxious no longer. i thought about the things that i will and can do from hereon. i will not worry about the results for the meantime. i looked outside the window and saw the sun shining brightly. the storm is over. things are looking good. and i am free at last!...after four and a half years.

p.s.: to everyone who helped us make it through the bar exams, thank you!

more pics at: driven 2