THE first semester has started, and that means going back to “teacher mode” in law school. This sem we have 200-plus new students, and as “cliché-ish” and ordinary as it may sound, we started with the usual getting-to-know-you short speeches. Our students came from different schools (some from as far as Mindanao), completed diverse bachelor degrees (a good percentage with Nursing degrees, some with degrees in the Social Sciences, Engineering, Financial Management/ Accounting, Theology, Political Science, and Legal Studies, among others) and others have been employed for some time in the government or in the private sector.

There are a lot of amazing things about being a teacher. Frankly, there are times when it gets wearisome (especially during exam season when we are tasked to check loads of notebooks with essays), and when I am simply too tired from my day job and do not really look forward to lecturing (or listening to some students attempting to recite but not really prepared for class); but more often than not, the love of teaching prevails. First day listening to the ‘freshies’ is one perk of the job: listening to their short speeches about their motivation for being in law school, learning about their former schools or their community, hearing interesting trivia about some who are braver than others to describe their idiosyncrasies, is sort of refreshing, and provides a breather from my usual day at work. Oftentimes we hear or read motivation quotes about loving what you do, and listening to these (still) idealist, optimist, ambitious freshies make me love my teaching job all the more.

Some of them had enough courage to admit that they have no idea why they are in law school (my snide-ish inner voice whispered: maybe it’s lack of anything better to do after college, or because you simply refuse to let go of your allowance from your parents). I assured them they have nothing to worry about. I’ve been a lawyer for 14 years and sometimes I still catch myself wondering why I’m in this profession. Others have mentioned that they believe being a lawyer is their “calling”. We should discuss that idea again 2-3 months into law school, okay? Okay.

Not to be mean or cynical but sometimes I have a feeling that this calling thing is overrated. I often see, read or hear quotes about how one should find what it is he really loves and go to that line of work, to determine his calling and stick with it. Unfortunately most of us are not able to determine our “calling” early on and end up with “work”, “labor”, “employment” – nonetheless that should not be a reason for us to feel sorry for ourselves, nor an excuse not to do well.

One of my favorite quotes of all time which I first saw in my Mama’s bookmark goes: “Bloom where you are planted.” Not all have the luxury of determining with definitiveness what their calling is. I would like to think instead of a “universal” calling: for us to be happy, to make it out there with what we have, to bloom where we are planted. There are times we have to keep our faith in these little, awesome mysteries called “blessings in disguise”. We don’t always get what we want, but oftentimes it is enough that we have what we need.