Everybody warned us that law school would be difficult. There would be late nights because of endless assignments, cruel professors out to humiliate us every day, and ruthless competition because of a curved grading system designed, as we were informed during our first week of school, to eliminate at least half our batch by graduation. But the memories we have of law school are vastly different. They are instead those of strong lifetime friendships formed, brilliant professors and supportive classmates who made learning the law a wonderful journey, and more than 20 years after we entered law school, a love of the law that still permeates our lives.
We were an easygoing freshman batch when we were suddenly both torn apart and brought together by Lenny’s death. We lost a dear friend and a good person, and we started looking for answers to many complicated questions. We pray that Lenny is now resting in peace, and that we never forget the lessons and values we have learned from his death.
We remember our batch as being resourceful, optimistic, and resilient. There was an energy crisis during our early years, so we learned to live with brown-outs and read in the dark. Then it became cool to bring lamps to the library. There was a great deal of cooperation among classmates by sharing our brains to produce book quality reviewers and digests, which we passed along to the following batches. At one time, the top students in our Ethics class collectively decided to skip the last exam to improve the grading curve and the passing rate for many. We spent the bulk of our money on “xerox”, since we had no Lex Libris, emails, laptops, or mobile phones then, but we managed quite well. We were happy playing “Pusoy Dos” while enjoying cafeteria food. We looked forward to Saturdays, a day without dress code and a time to relax after classes.
On the last Sunday of our Bar exam, there was a storm and Polytechnic University of the Philippines was flooded. Some used pedicabs to get out of the exam area but many of us just happily waded through the floods in celebration. The storm turned out to be lucky [providential] for us, since our batch had 8 bar topnotchers, the highest in Ateneo’s history.
We have since taken different paths after becoming lawyers, but many of our lives remain connected. Many are partners and colleagues at work, and two pairs have become partners in life. The world has changed so much and technology has made so many things possible, but our gratitude and affection for our law school will always remain.