Valedictory Address

I took our graduation rites seriously. I started with beauty rest since the weekend, a 24-hour restful sleep that commenced right after we ended the kick-off party at 3 a.m. I woke up on a Monday, light-headed and wobbly, tried to feel every part of my body. I was scared that I picked up paralysis at any time during the entire day of sleep, and that we had a snap election of the President while I dreamed. Much to my luck, none of this happened.

I am about to discuss my make-up options with my make-up artist in a few minutes as I write this. I want a no-make-up, make-up look, and about to plan my graduation dinner with some family and friends. I can only comment how much this ender costs, and I’m glad we only have graduations once every four years.

But actually, I was in law school for the past five years. I would not describe my stay as halcyon days, but there are golden times. I recall how I first inquired with the College of Law, notebook and ball-point pens ready for the entrance exam, backed up by enthusiastic parents who escorted their 20-something daughter in the halls of the college.

Half-embarrassed and half-excited, I enrolled on the same day.

I had several rosters of friends, one from every block I joined in hesitantly. Since everybody else belonged in a block section, I floated like a temp on every subject, no permanent peers, no commitments to update on discussions and assignments. I liked that—but we can only float so much. Soon enough came in my friends, along with the endless nights of echoing recaps, over cups and cups of alcohol.

I would say that aside from the rules of law, I gained greater proficiency over the mechanics of alcohol. There are days when I deeply regret it, but affirmed and vindicated when a wise, Judge, professor of ours said that “a tough mind to alcohol is a tough mind to the Bar exams”. I feel good.

There was a time when I almost quit a major subject, with a teacher blatantly, expressly said, in class, that she didn’t like me. I was harmless and volunteering to a question no one dared to answer. I was an innocent casualty, a victim of intellectual war inside the classroom. I better just shut up, but I did not.

Throughout my stay in the college, I have always been the enthusiastic. I would risk getting a 70 over not trying my way through a tough question in class, and like a kid on the sight of a lollie, my eyes would beam when my wary professors call me out to recite as I volunteer. I get the feeling that they know at the onset that I know no better, but I am thankful they gave my humility a try.

I had several crushes, and a heartbreak. In law school, it’s impossible to survive with a half-heart, and the half-life of mine was snatched away by now what I call a memory. Nevertheless, if I had two hearts I would gladly give both two, if that would mean my resources would be spent on a brain that will be abused to work extra hours to remember the law—and at the same time—to forget. Sam Smith was right. “Thank you for breaking my heart, because your brought me a Thesis and a Diploma”.

Before my speech ends up as a mere narrative to my journey, let me start now with thanking everyone who has been a part of my law school journey:

One: thank you, parents, for four years of lending your car and waiting up for me at night for when we had to go through *ehem* group studies, research, case digests, and every other activities that require us to go past the school hours.

Two: to my professors who have laboriously given us though-evoking questions, out-of-the-books impossible legal equations that we all tried to solve, and for teaching us humility—that in spite of the number of books, resources, and reviewers we try to read, we are still, a speck of dust inside a giant’s eye. We have so much more to learn.

Three: to our school’s office staff: Mam Melbs, Mam Ammabelle, and Mam Au, your non-academic presence is refreshing to our eyes.

Fourth: to my classmates and friends, who have been there to make sure that every derangement is systematic with our tagay system. For being the muffler every time I go off in frustration, for being one in my misery, for being there whenever I have a burning chismis to tell, and for showing me the positive side of things just because you can get gloomy too. I love how we neutralize each other and how we celebrate when we all get grades in the line of seven’s and promise to unfriend on Facebook whoever gets the highest.

And of course, to God. Because.

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