Tuesday, September 04, 2001

Nightmare on the Eve of the Bar Exams

I was in a rickety condo unit in Makati with only coackroaches keeping me company. I called for pizza delivery for dinner from Shakey's-- Manager's Choice with extra cheese, Coke and Chick n' Chips. There was enough food even for breakfast the following day. I found it too pricey for my budget at five hundred bucks, but I figured, the bar exams was my day of judgment. If I flunk it, it would be my last pizza forever. So who cares?

A classmate called to tell me that they would pick me up as early as 5:00 am. It was neessary to come early, according to her, to avoid the traffic build up brought about by the annual Alay Lakad (Walk for A Cause) Project that would pass at La Salle Taft Avenue where the exams will be. No problem. I had no choice. Either I went to the bar with obsessive compulsive classmates or I risked missing it altogether with Manila's unreliable public transport. I had no time for those little dilemmas. I figured I needed at least six hours of sleep to have an optimum performance for the eight hour exam. There was no better preparation than that. Besides, what I did not know on the eve of the bar exams, I would never know in time for the actual exams. To be ready by 5:00 am, I needed to wake up at 4:00 am. That meant I had to be snoring by 10:00 pm.

After dinner, I finished memorizing a chapter on Atty Nachura's reviewer on Political Law about diplomatic immunity. I scanned the other pages that I haven't touched and decided It was time to sleep.Yet. my gut was crying for more. It was telling me that my knowledge of political law was vanishing slowly and the only way to stop it was for me to keep on reading until I fell asleep. So I hit the books again. But, very little was sinking in. I ran my mnemonics devices to see if I can rattle off principles that I had memorized. No good. I turned on the air-conditioner to cool off. The motor was too loud. I turned it off. What do I do now? It's 11:00 pm. So much for the six hours of solid sleep. My professor gave us one tip that afternoon. "If all else fails, try beer!" But, who was gonna get that beer for me? The cockroaches? I remembered as a kid that I would make myself dizzy and fall asleep by spinning around like crazy. So I spun around the room for five minutes until I fell and threw up. But I was still wide awake. I tried music -- Mozart, Bach. But I had been listening to those guys the entire bar review period that I had been numbed. They had very little effect on me. No use.

Thereafter, it dawned upon me -- I was gonna flunk the bar. With very little sleep, if at all, there was no way I could construct a decent sentence. The exams for the day consisted of two sets of one hundred (100) essay questions to be hurdled in four hours each set. No way was anybody gonna pass that with less than six hours of sleep. I saw all my four years of hard work studying the law flashing on my mind. The episodes when I had flunked an exam were even in slo-mo. I knew I would forever be labeled a bar flunker. What job would I get? Court sheriff? It was done. The clock struck at 1:00 am as I decided I had lost it and dozed off. Good night bar flunker.

That was exactly six years today. Of course, I flunked the exams on that day. But I made enough points in the succeeding exams to give me a decent passing mark. I knew better the following week. I downed a bottle of wine.

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