Chasing Dreams: Of Mixed Feelings and Doubts

School is about start next week. It’s not so much as a “Yey! We’re going back to school” feeling but more of a “Damn I’m going to hell” feeling. It’s only now that the weight of my decision to go to law school is sinking into me.

And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I don’t think nervous is the correct word. Scared witless could be the proper term. Doubts are bouncing inside my head, the fear is eating my heart and the worry is making my stomach feel funny. God, I really am scared. So scared that I feel like running away and I’ve already thought of my exit plans (hangover from my strategic management class). I get so scared that I feel like my heart is going to burst and my eyes are tingling with frustrated tears (and when I say frustrated tears it means the pesky tear drops don’t want to go down).

Countless of times this week I have thought to myself: “Ngrhgh anong nakain ko at naisip kong pasukan ‘to?!” [What the hell was I thinking, entering law school?!] I have beaten myself up, countless of times, berating myself for my thoughtless actions, for my impulsive and desperate self.

I have avoided truthfully answering the dreaded question: why law? People may wonder why I dislike answering the question so much. I really do hate answering because I feel that it is too personal, and I feel like I don’t know the answer myself. Or worse, I feel like my answer isn’t correct. I am scared to answer that question because I don’t like the feeling of vulnerability. I hate it. I would answer my friends honestly, about why I want to enter law, but I would often find myself answering in different ways because there is no single logic or reason behind my decision to go to law. Or at least it looked that way to me.

It was an impulsive decision on my part because I had so many options: look for a job first, think about life, build my own business, etc., but no, I just had to push through with law school.

One of the reasons why I wanted to go to law school is because it gives me direction. And by direction, I mean I have a set of unwritten guidelines stating that: 1) READ 2) STUDY 3) READ 4) UNDERSTAND 5) ANSWER QUESTIONS 6) DEFEND 7) PASS THE SUBJECTS 8) PASS THE BAR EXAMS 9) DO WHAT PROPER AND UPRIGHT LAWYERS DO

All throughout my undergraduate program, I was agonizing over what to do with my life. I was so desperate for a goal, for a direction (still am). My previous dream died a horrible, horrible death, no thanks to me. And countless of times I have wished I could donate life force to somebody else more deserving. But hey I’m still here so I probably shouldn’t turn my nose up at God’s blessing that I’m still alive, so thankfully I’ve gotten rid of that mindset, or at least I’m getting there.

Another one of the reason why I wanted to go to law school is because it only seemed natural. I came from a family of lawyers; my parents, my older siblings and cousins are lawyers. It seemed natural to me that I would follow their foot steps. I was never one for “razing my own path” because I have always believed that I couldn’t and I was scared of burning myself.

The main reason why I chose law is probably because it was my dream, it is my dream ever since I was a child. I was exposed to law books, I would watch news with my dad, I would read books written by John Grisham and I would be inspired by whatever I would read (Street Lawyer inspired me the most, followed by The Client). And with my dream, I wanted to help people. I want to be one of the people who touches the lives of others and helps them achieve their full potential. I want to use the law not as an instrument to impede growth and promote corruption but as an instrument to help develop what a proper human being should be.

People could argue, that I can and may help people in many other ways. There’s medicine, science, journalism and a whole lot more. So I guess it ended up as a matter of preference. For some reason that I couldn’t explain, I chose law. It was like a calling, as cheesy and cliche as it may seem it just called out to me. I really don’t know what I ate to make me think this way. Here I am still agonizing over the issue of whether this is the right path or God wants to place me somewhere else but I was just too stubborn because of my pride and preference.

I have doubts. A lot of them. If I could sell them, and if somebody buys them, I would probably be rich. But nobody wants to buy doubts of others, they already have their own. I doubt if I have the right to dream again. After failing so badly with my previous dreams, I am scared so much of moving, of making my decisions because I do not want it to happen again. I do not want to do something that I will regret so much. I doubt if I have the right skills or talents to survive law school, or even the law profession. My family would say I have a “pusong mamon” [softhearted] and that I have to be strong and fight.

Yes, I know. I know that. I’m just really scared that I can’t do it. I feel pressured. I am scared. And can I just say that I believe there is something wrong when I find myself being optimistic in the way that: “Oh. I won’t be alone anyway. There will be others suffering with me.” Amidst all these doubts and fears, there is still something whispering in my heart that I can do it, that I’ll weather through it. There is still the feeling of elation and achievement that I took the first step towards my dream. Oh man, I did it. Hahaha. Okay I’m done, the first step is enough let’s stop this foolishness and masochism, I’m done.

I’m just joking. And they say jokes are half meant. See what I mean about mixed feelings? I’m scared that I began thinking that way, that I’m hoping and dreaming of something big when it could all go wrong so badly. My dreams frighten me and make me feel helpless. But at the same time, I think I feel excited that I was given the chance again to pursue something meaningful to me.

I feel nauseous just thinking about it, I’m thinking I want to get this over with but of course I can’t do that. My inner perfectionist wouldn’t let me do that. I have to do my best. Or at least if I go down, I must go down fighting. And I feel excited I was given a chance to have a go at dreaming again even if I have to face terror profs, thousands of cases and books as tall as me, sleepless and tearful nights and a whole lot more. Is it so wrong it’s only now that I feel excited? Talk about dense.

I have my friends who pull me up and believe so much in me that I am overwhelmed. They are part of the reason why I am pushing through with it, even if I was so tempted to say to my parents: “Ma, Pa, I don’t think I can do this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” (Of course I can’t do that, they already paid the tuition and all). My friends who were excited before me, who are happy for me, who made me realize that my regret of not trying would be greater than my regret of trying and failing, who are there just to support me even if they’re physically not there, they believe I can do it and so I can’t help but to believe it too.They nurtured my sense of idealism.

I have my family to pull me down, not in the bad sense but for my own good. They teach reality and point out the things that outsiders and even close friends would hesitate to point out to me. Because as someone said from a favorite anime of mine (Silver Spoon): “In all things, I think having a dream means having ┬áthe resolve to struggle with reality.” They instilled in me the sense of reality. Really, I’m having mixed feelings that I don’t really think it’s good my mental and physical health (not that I was that healthy in mental terms anyway).

I’m scared. I’m happy. I’m nervous. I’m excited.

At the end of all these emotions, I’m just pursuing my dreams again. And it shouldn’t matter whether I was influenced into dreaming it, or if I just chose it out of my own volition, should it? It’s still my dream. It’s still my choice. For others, I think they would find it strange if I say that I feel happy that I can finally say “yes” when they say to me if ever I do complain (and I know I will): “Ginusto mo ‘yan eh.” [You chose it.]. I can finally answer wholeheartedly: “Oo, ginusto ko ‘to eh.” [Yeah. I wanted this.] If ever I do feel like running away again (I already started), I just have to remember the words of one of my favorite professor who is currently the Chancellor of my beloved alma mater:

But the UP way is to bite the bullet, take up the challenge” – Chancellor Tan

And we have the infamous line from the very well-known bad-ass Captain Levy from Shingeki no Kyojin [Attack on Titan]

The only thing we’re allowed to do is to believe that we won’t regret the choice that we made

Of course, I also have to remember God and pray:

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” – Surah Al-Baqarah 2:186

And the chase begins.

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