I had no inkling of becoming a lawyer when I was a kid.
As far as I could remember, I have always been fascinated with computers. You see, I grew up during the birth and rise of the Internet from 1999 to the early 2000s.
I was in my second year in high school when our mother who returned from work abroad brought home a desktop as one of her gifts, along of course with the customary pasalubong of sweets and chocolates, as well as clothes and shoes.
I can still clearly remember the desktop which consisted of a white CRT monitor (yes, the one with the tube as flat screens have not yet been invented at this point) matched with white tower CPU case (it’s called tower in computer parlance). To top it off, it came with a pre-installed Windows XP.
I was very familiar with computers at a young age because I was immersed through gaming. Just a few years back in my grade school days, all the hype surrounded on the PlayStation 2. I’d play all the RPG games I could get my hand on namely the Final Fantasy series and then duke it out with combat games like Tekken with my siblings and cousins. Then, the gaming landscape shifted to personal computers (PCs) with the rise of Counter-Strike (the first and original, mind you), Warcraft III, Red Alert 2, and so on. Of course, I didn’t just played PC games; I got curious with computers and quickly learned how it worked such as assembling it and upgrading the parts, particularly the RAM and graphics card.
Then, things changed when I learned people were using this thing called the “Internet.” Most of the PC games I mentioned earlier did not require the Internet and if you wanted to do multiplayer, you set-up a LAN. At first, I did not pay much attention to the Internet since most of the people I knew used it for IRC chatting. Basically, imagine MS-DOS way of chatting with another person. The weird thing for me was chatting with an anonymous person, you didn’t know who was at the end of the line. It kind of threw me off.
My attention was finally caught when I came across the online game called Ragnarok. I was just a casual player, not a hard-core one. It was because playing that game was costly because of the “load” that you had to do to play the game. Meaning, you rent a PC plus you have to buy cards to play the game. Talk about being an expensive form of entertainment for a high school student.
If, at this point you are wondering how this connects to my law school journey, it’s about to happen shortly. Like a good storyteller, I had to give you the reader some context and background.
So, let’s get back shall we.
On my junior year in high school, I started learning how to use the Internet for school research. Every time I wanted to connect to the Internet, I had to click Internet explorer (the only other broswer at this time was Netscape which I was not a fan of). I usually started at the Yahoo! website (while Google was existing at this time, people didn’t really know what it was and besides it was boring with just a search bar in the middle). It goes without saying that my first email was a Yahoo! account under an alias which I’m too ashamed to share. People were not using their real names for email around this time. You have to note that the Internet was very new – it was basically a wild, wild west where safety and security was almost non-existent.
Then, there were these computer viruses spreading through computers via unsafe websites, compromised emails, and even on 3.5 floppy disks! If you don’t know the last word I said, you can Google it. It is the predecessor of CDs and flash disks.
By my senior year, we were advised to start applying for colleges and universities. I don’t know why but I only decided to fill-up one application and refused to write on the others. (I would soon later on learn that my elder sister filled-up a UST application form and probably signed on my behalf when I received a notice from the said University regarding my application – to my surprise, of course!)
It was a four-page form that folded like a folder only that it was on a somewhat slightly thick bond paper (if you could call it that). It was for the UP College Admissions Test or the UPCAT.
When I was filling up the form, I ticked UP Diliman for my first choice of campus followed by UP Cebu. I didn’t know of any immediate relatives in either of those places so I thought it would be a good place to assert my independence. Curiously, I grew up having this desire of being independent and my concept of it at a young age was striking it on my own in college.
Then came the important questions. What were my first and second preferred degrees? Without batting an eyelid, I checked the two degrees I was gung-ho learning.
Remember what I said at the start of this chapter? I had no inkling of becoming a lawyer when I was a kid. Yes, that one.
I don’t know why but people around me assumed I’d be a lawyer. Strangely though, nobody considered me being a doctor, engineer, or for any other profession for that matter. What gives?
Loking at it back now, I know that I read a lot from school textbooks, fiction novels, magazines, comics, and manga. I also wrote well at a young age and, to top it off, I collected medals and trophies in oratorical contests, as well as in extemporaneous speaking and speech choir. I mean, I was just good at them. These are communication skills. It can be used in various professions and not just the legal profession. Besides, whenever I was asked since I was young and able to know what I was saying, I’ve never answered a “lawyer” to the question of what do you want to grow up?
In fact, it was only when I was answering the UPCAT form did I take that question seriously and without reservations checked the two things that interested me the most – computer science and computer engineering.
For unknown reasons, my mother was sitting on a couch near me when I was filling up the form. While she did not want to impose on her kids what course to take in college as was her policy, she made a comment that Philosophy was a good Pre-Law course. I heard her say it and just replied with a silent hmmm…
Little did I know, in just a few years, I would find myself sitting downtrodden in class after getting my second 5.0 (singko) as a result of botching up a law school recitation. Where-o-where did things go wrong was the usual theme as I wade through the jungle running and jumping over on obstacles to survive law school professors whose only goal in life, and perhaps their purpose for existence, is to flunk law students.