An Adulthood Dream, #LawStartsAt40

by - 4:33 AM

The Paper Chase (1973) kingsfield

I assumed all born-poor Filipino families came into a stage of “nothingness.” And I mean poverty at all levels. I can still remember in our old scary wooden house, we used to sleep in one room on the 2nd floor. Side by side, my sisters and I used to sleep in a colorful “banig.” While waiting for Papa to turn off the fluorescent light bulb, my sisters teased each other and sometimes they tickled me under my chin and down to my baby armpit until I cried with laughter. I am the 4th child in the family and my parents raised 5 children at that time. The next day, we all woke up when the sunbeams passed through the window and flashed toward our puffy faces – a sign that we were ready for another school day. I remember preparing my mug of Nescafe Black Coffee with “kinugay” – a brown sugar – and happily seated with my sisters on a breakfast prepared by Mama. As I remember, it was my favorite scrambled egg with a lot of onions, garlic, spring onions, a lot of tomatoes and I think 2 eggs which was perfectly divided among the seven of us at the dining table. While my sisters happily dunked their scrambled eggs into a shared plate full of “ginamos”, we rushed and finished our breakfast so that we wouldn’t be late for school. I was studying in an elementary school in our Barangay. I can still remember holding the sweaty and tired hands of my Mama as we went down a muddy and rough road while carrying a loaded bag with a broken zipper at the side – that was fun trekking our way to School. I thought we were lucky to have a home and family to be our source of warmth when we were cold and sad. I thought those things I remembered were luxuries that I and my family were lucky to have and experience. Because the 6-year-old me thought that’s what life should look like to other families, too. But no, those were the “nothingness” that our family went through. Luckily, I was an achiever in elementary. Maybe the reason why I was educationally sponsored by a certain Law graduate whom I used to see and treat as a Lawyer. That was my first encounter with my so-called term “LAW WORLD” And I said to myself, that I wanted to be just like him when I grew up! I think it was a child's DREAM if we call it. That is the part where the author of the article said "Most of you have been inspired by role models, culled from your own experiences." That moment I said to myself to become a good lawyer, A 6-year-old me who knew nothing but play and school wanted to become a lawyer......a DREAM!



Time flies so fast. I was graduating High School and yes, I was still an achiever! Those 4 years in secondary school were all about getting the Valedictorian title and medals. Yes, that was my way of achieving my goals! The DESIRE to become a Lawyer was still intact. It was still burning and at the time, I still wanted to become a Lawyer. But nobody knew about it even my loving and supportive parents. In contrast to Popoy, my own Diokno, my father and mother had no chance of knowing what I really like. I didn’t have the guts to let them know that I should study Law. And I thought having good academic records was enough and would surely help me pursue my desire but NO, I forgot the most important element - Money.  As I planned, I graduated top of the class. I even managed to get a Department of Science and Technology scholarship - the only student who got it in our High School. A number of colleges were on the table and I only need one for my goal of becoming a lawyer. I wanted to grab a Bachelor in Engineering course not knowing it was political science that might serve as the best Pre-law course. But one day Mama introduced me to the Center For Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), a 3-year technical school with a number of amazing and world-class partner Companies based in Cebu and some in other countries like Japan. My neighbor who got an internship in a good company had graduated from CITE at that time and was sent to Japan for further work-related affairs. I got excited that maybe this would give us good money when I got a good job and thought it would be the solution to our poverty. So, I ignored the bachelor’s Offer and instead, went after the 3-year technical education which will surely land me a job after I graduate.

In thearticle, Mr. Kingsfield might be the reason why Mr. Hart was about to quit Law School. But for me, it was money! Because of Money, my DREAM and DESIRE started to fade away. I was focused on just having a nice corporate work. I chose the Information Technology course at that time because I knew that with it, companies would beg for your "YES" to work with them especially if you have a good moral,  character, and skills in your chosen job. That was what I thought and indeed, it became reality. If I'm not mistaken I was hired as an intern at the age of 18 at a Watch Manufacturing Company in Mepza. I was an IT Support and thought it was it! But, NO, I slowly forgot my ultimate goal in life - TO BE A LAWYER!



After that vocational school in CITE. I was absorbed as a regular at work at the same company where I got my internship. I think LUCK is indeed my best friend. I planned to pursue my Bachelor's Degree and in the year 2011, at the age of 24, I had my Diploma for Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in CIT University. FINALLY, one step away from the School of Law. But but but...DISLODGE, verb. change place or direction. synonyms: reposition, shift. Yes, my priority shifted from going for Law to stepping up the corporate stairs. So yeah, the shift of DREAM and DESIRE slowly set in. The Dislodge! But no, I did not become the manager...a team lead? Hmmm, my position told so but not my title.

I got so serious about doing my daily tasks and aiming as the best Corporate slave. Sounds funny, but yeah! Getting into Law School after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree was forgotten. In 2018, another opportunity opened its doors in a different department but still under the Information Technology – E-commerce! I got a new job and a new title and of course, an increase in Salary and Benefits. At the age of 31, I was asked to travel and visit our headquarters in the United States specifically in Connecticut for a 2-week Business trip. On a weekend, I visited New York and other states in the US and yes, I was so happy and contented with my new phase of being a Corporate Slave. Balancing work, family, friends, and my blogging gigs – is too much to handle yet, but I was able to manage it very well so I was blinded by these and said, “I am complete.” But then Covid struck in early 2020. Realizations sunk in!

My mental health was compromised. A lot of stuff and thinking came inside my brain and thoughts were flying around my head – left and right. One of those was Law School. But again, I think it was just .00000001% of the total percentage of thoughts I had at that time. And yes, Law School was again, never my priority. All I wanted was for my family to be healthy and free from that virus. Financial stability was also one of the priorities. A few friends and employees were getting redundant or laid off. It was the worst economic status in the world. So, it was not the time to think about getting into Law School.

Came 35 years version of me – Everything went to normal, or at least what I think of. It was the time when I also think of what the late Senator Jose W. Diokno said to Popoy, “….I felt that you would be wasting your time studying law in this “new society.” Yes, for me it was a new society. With Facemasks already inadvisable, educational classes are now in hybrid so with the working from offices and home setup, I then had the courage to recall and reconsider Law School. But that question hit me, What if Senator Diokno was correct – I’ll be wasting my time studying law? What if I don’t pass the quizzes and exams? What if I won’t make it until 4th year? So much, what-ifs!


But unlike Popoy, my childhood dream of becoming someone amazing like a Lawyer grew into an adulthood dream. It was mid-year this year that I strongly decided to really (for real) pursue Law. It was one of those late nights of June 2023 that I got a chance to have a one-on-one and heart-to-heart talk with my lawyer friend over coffee. He got his usual Café Latte while I just got a cup of tea. Without hesitation, I told him my interest in pursuing Law School. To his surprise, he asked why Law? I jokingly replied, coz I want revenge on those poor people just like in Korean Drama. We laughed at that but after, there were deep conversations and he advised me to DO IT! The line that left his mouth and that I won’t forget is, “Do it, go to Law school. At least, you’ll answer some of your what-ifs. Then later if it’s not for you, move on. Again, this time you tried.” That was the breaking point and I firmly decided to be a first-year Law student at the University of San Jose – Recoletos. The very friendly Law School to Working students like me.

My first few weeks in Law School were indeed weird but in a good way of weirdness. My last at-school educational affair was in the year 2011. Imagine, 12 years later, I am here in USJR – in LAW SCHOOL! I felt like an elementary student who was just so excited to bring some books inside a bag, doing some scribbles in my subject notebooks, and first time doing some assignments – it was weird but in a good way. Came the anticipated First-year students orientation, I was amazed by the number of students who enrolled for Law School. One story that inspired me was with Atty. Malig-on story on a 60-year-old student of USJR who later became a Lawyer in just one take of the Bar exam. I was like if she made it, I would surely make it! That was the additional fire that gave me the courage to continue doing it.

“But I have never been prouder than the day, five Sundays ago, that you told me that you wanted to study law.” Said Atty. Pepe to Popoy. And as for me, after 4-5 years from now, I will surely be saying this line with my own version to my parents and family who have been rooting for me since day 1. “But I have never been prouder than the day, 23 years ago, that you told me to pursue a course that will definitely give me financial stability in the future. It was a failure on my end that I did not tell you that I wanted to study law but I am still proud that you guided me all throughout my Educational journey” But because of that decision, I now have the resources to pursue my childhood dream. Even without financial support from my family, I can always see from their faces the “fighting” cheers that boosted my ego. I may encounter some downtime, discouragement, dismay, and negative judgments from friends thinking that I don’t fit into Law but I promise to myself that I will continue doing this! I strongly believe that whatever hindrances and hardships I will surely encounter in my 4-5 years of Law journey – whatever kind of Kingsfield that might hinder my way to Law, I will make sure to find a Pepe kind of inspiration that will guide and brighten my way in achieving my goal – becoming a Lawyer. After all, Atty. Pepe and I have a lot in common. First, we both are Pisces, and second, 3 days after his death, a Mark Monta was born.

This year is the time to send off those negative thoughts I have in my mind and DISPATCHing them as part of my past. I may be in my late 30’s but I still have the fire of fighting for my dream. I promise to become a Lawyer who lives in and by the law, strives for justice, works in freedom builds on facts, and seeks truth. That’s why my friends, I promise to myself that Law Starts at 40! I will become a Lawyer at the age of 40 or earlier, NO MATTER WHAT!!!

PS: The most important advice from the author of “The Grand Manner: Slaying Kingsfield”, “Do not forsake or abandon your other interests–your life is not and should not only be the college of law” Yes, even I already entered to my so-called “LAW WORLD”,  but I will also still be Blogging and go to the gym for a workout or maybe join some funrun, so please still follow my socials at @TheMarkMonta in all channels for updates. (WINK)


You May Also Like


Show some Love, post a comment please? <3 <3 <3