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Monday, June 24, 2024

In the eyes of a Thomasian Bar Examinee

3 min readIt’s not exactly a competition, but as a Thomasian, there’s a certain need to not disappoint your alma mater. Especially that you’ve stuck around for so long.
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Published 9 months ago on September 17, 2023

by Christine Nicole Montojo


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Photo by Justin Lorenz Rentoza/TomasinoWeb


For you and 10,000 other examinees, D-Day has just begun.

Dapitan Street is closed today. The line stretches half a kilometer towards Gate 10 as people read from their codals. Some are even sitting on the sidewalk, highlighting important parts of their reviewers as a last-minute attempt at cramming. It’s only three in the morning.

You see some students holding the Constitution like it’s the Bible. Others are well-wishers who just came from church as they pray the rosary. Test permit? Check. Laptop? Charged. Today’s politics and taxation, with Wednesday’s civil law making you break out in a cold sweat. Sure, politics is politics, and there’s no computation this year, but goodness gracious—no amount of reviewing is going to save you from the complexities of Philippine inheritance law. It’s almost a year since you graduated, bidding adieu to the main building with diploma in hand, vowing to pass the Bar in one take.

That’s what all the new applicants are thinking right now. Get it done in one take. Going through the review process is torture. Those sleepless nights better be worth it. “We’re not going through that again,” you tell yourself.

The line hasn’t moved yet.

Metro Manila is home to some of the best law schools in the nation, And as you wait for the line to move, it finally sinks in.

How are they gonna fit all of us into one building?! Sure, there’s also Albertus Magnus, but that’s in España—almost a kilometer away. Almost like they’re from another world. Another set of test-takers shoved for a whole day of testing. Another batch of applicants that share the same dream as you do.

To become lawyers at the end of the year, no matter what it takes.

It’s not exactly a competition, but as a Thomasian, there’s a certain need to not disappoint your alma mater, especially that you’ve stuck around for so long. You could’ve gone anywhere else, but you stayed here. Besides, if you became a topnotcher, the dean could treat you to a vacation abroad. Little things to raise morale.

The line finally begins to move. You put the codal back into your bag, thinking that you’ll have some time before ingress to refresh yourself on the Constitution—not that you haven’t memorized the booklet by heart now, but you never know what could happen when you arrive at the testing area.

“Test permit please,” the guard says. You let him look at the small piece of paper–your entry point into the testing area. The crowd of well wishers are on the other side. Sana all.

The frisking process is smooth. Your jacket, reserved for enduring brutal air conditioned rooms, is kept in your backpack. The rest of the checks go smoothly, and you see someone a few paces behind getting stopped for failing to bring out their test permit fast enough. A part of you puffs in pride at your preparedness—but that’s never the right way to go. However, you can’t do anything about it, so you try to look away.

“That could’ve been me,” you tell yourself. However, you’re saved by an almost obsessive amount of preparedness, and an insistence to triple-check if you brought everything you needed for the test. Thank God for that.

Once you enter campus, the first thing you do is take out your bar reviewer and scan. You even forgot to say hello to the guards, right now, you’ve got bigger things to worry about. Months of review hinging on this single moment—the first day of the Bar. Sure, you’ll be back to take the other subjects, but starting off strong is the best way to pull the following days off. You pray that your memory doesn’t slip. It’s almost the first bell.

Room 201, St. Raymund’s Building. You and nineteen other takers are waiting for the proctor. Your laptop has the latest version of Examplify, no digital reviewers are in sight, and as far as anyone concerned, you went to the bathroom. You should be in a state of calm. You wanted this right? This is the final step. The reason why you stayed here for four more years. Fear is not going to help your chances.

Theoretically, you are in optimal condition to take this test. You did your morning prayers, a final review as you took the long ride to the University, and if you do feel thirsty or hungry, you have some snacks with you to munch while answering the test. You had a year’s worth of review for this. The mere thought of the first exam shouldn’t make you sweat bullets and silently pray for the apocalypse to come.

Nerves are building. Tensions are high. Everyone has their bags near the whiteboard. The proctor finally arrives, and with it, your first test begins. And that’s where you realize luck can only take you so far.

Only divine intervention can boost you now.



BAR 2023

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Christine Nicole Montojo

Stories Writer

Christine Nicole Montojo is the Stories Editor of TomasinoWeb. Her interests cover a wide variety of topics, but if the research fuels into making better fiction, then the more the merrier. Outside of work, Christine is either writing fiction or playing life simulators (and the occasional gacha game). If not doing either of those, then she is probably writing her own fiction or doing research for said fiction.


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