May 18, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
Getting yourself through law school takes a ton of commitment.
“I pretty much lived in school,” Sean Borja revealed. The 2018 Bar exam topnotcher recalled how most of his classes would end late in the evening. Law school had a lot of demands, but Sean had moot court competition trainings to look forward to as the night deepened. On some days, trainings made him face dawn without any wink of sleep.
“I realized I can’t be all about studies, so I might as well broaden my perspective. There were a lot of issues I didn’t fully understand like the South China Sea disputes, cyber attacks, legality of nuclear weaponry—but these are the discussions that the nerd in me is in love with. It’s a huge part of me,” Sean shared.
Becoming a lawyer wasn’t a childhood dream of his, but the drive to become someone with the courage to stand his ground and speak up was instilled early in Borja. “You can say I had a rough childhood. A lot of the teasing stems from being too feminine,” he told alike.
“I realized that I didn’t really have the courage to speak up then. I was so ashamed to be myself. There were times that I lacked the bravery and lost my voice all of a sudden. I told myself I never want that to happen again and eventually that drive fueled me to get take up law. Because in law, you get to say your piece with reason and you get to argue with logic,” Sean shared.
When he was preparing for the Bar, Sean would start his days at six in the morning and wrap up a day’s worth of studying at 10 PM. The monotony of the routine started to weigh him down in August, just three months before the daunting examinations. He realized he was on a loop, doing the same things over and over again every single day. One question mocked his sanity: Is life just going to be like this?
“But in the Bar, you have no choice but to get over your insecurities, doubts, and drama—because there’s just no time for that. How I processed it was by thinking ‘I’m sad now, but it’s not going to be like this forever,’” Sean said.
“If your heart is not in it, chances are you might not succeed. The Bar is really a test of character. It’s not a test of natural brilliance. It’s really about how you endure through the entire ordeal.”
Sean started liking the idea of pursuing law when he was in college. He believes that everyone forges their own destinies, and that there should always be a hunger to reinvent yourself—a constant evolving through the process of becoming.
“Now I’m a topnotcher but I don’t want to rest having that label. If you’re gonna weigh that label 10 years from now, that only means you haven’t achieved anything other than that. I want to achieve a lot of things for myself, my family and my friends—and all the good people,” he said.
“My mantra has always been to visualize the good dreams that you have and to do it for all the good people—not just for yourself but for all the people counting on you.”
Photos by Vinz Lamorena
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