A Filipina’s Law Sorority Experience: An Anonymous Tell-All

I graduated in a sort-of-famous law school in the Philippines last 2016 and I took the bar exam the same year. Whether it’s maroon, red, blue, yellow, green or purple, is up for you to speculate. Honestly, it’s all a show. I’ve had colleagues in the firm, coming from different law schools and I do think our work is not too far off from each other. Anyway, that topic is reserved for another post. Today, I will talk about my sorority experience.

I entered the sort-of-famous law school in 2012, wide-eyed and quite honestly, naive. I came from an undergraduate background where people do not really intend to go to law school (hint: not legal management or political science). I entered this sort-of-famous law school without knowing a single student inside. However, I was able to contact a family friend alumnus, as well as a friend of a relative. That was my mistake.

These two were members of the same sorority. Needless to say, they recruited me and promised a bond of sisterhood. Studies first, they said. All activities are voluntary. We all do it for the love of the sorority. Also, we are against hazing of every sort. I was naive. I believed them.

The initiation process was torture. Yes we were not physically hurt but everything was emotional torture and personal attacks. There was also a long period of time where we were blindfolded and told to “trust.” After all the emotional torture, we were told that we did not get in. I was packing my bags when they told us that they changed their minds. All they wanted to see was tears. Sadists.

The sorority eventually expanded, from the smallest sorority in law school to the most well connected (the specifics of why, I cannot divulge). A bigger organization of women meant that the fights get sneakier, the peer pressure and the costs got higher. The sorority was incorporated, the dictatorship got stronger and was legitimized.

We were forced to sell various overpriced items from food to event tickets. Once they reach our hands, these items are considered sold. I once spent a week’s allowance because I could not sell the ridiculously overpriced tickets. I could not excuse myself from sorority events. Your dad’s birthday? Too bad. Yes you can opt not to go but the consequences are too bad, you would just opt to go instead. You will be openly called out: slacker, no use,… to name a few.

I think the highlight of the sorority experience would be during the bar exam season. The sorority assigned us “runners.” These runners will photocopy, transcribe, and buy things for us during the bar review until the end of the bar exams. During our hotel stay for the bar examinations, they can book, prepare or buy our food as well as wake us up. The sorority also shouldered a fraction of the cost of the hotel stay. They also assigned us a driver for our ride home from UST (although quite useless, he wanted to be chased instead of fetching us at a designated place).

All was well after I passed the bar. There was a barrage of congratulatory messages. I thought I graduated from the forceful ways of the sorority. After all, I was no longer in law school. I was wrong.

The next batch of bar examinees will take the bar examinations this November. The sorority needs funding. Lo and behold, there was a directive that the new bar passers will sell tickets totalling roughly six thousand pesos each. I just quit my job because of the shouting incidents, the firm will hold my last salary for a month. The government job where I will transfer to will take at least two months before they can release my first month’s salary.

Two sisters started barraging me with messages. One in particular, was a senior sister who has helped me a great deal with how to navigate law school. For her, it’s payback time. I told her how I could not shoulder the costs, as even if I try to sell them, there is no guarantee that I could sell all and once I receive these tickets, these are considered sold. Now I am “ungrateful” for everything that the sorority has done for me. A lot more hurtful words were said. I stayed quiet for the most part; not wanting to offend the person that I considered as a friend. All this, for money.

So…would I have survived law school without a sorority? Yes. Definitely. I have met people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met though. I was also not able to spend my energy in law school organizations or make more meaningful friendships outside the sorority. It’s hard to say if I would have fared better without it.

Did I say that this is a tell-all? Well, it’s quite short for that. I might have missed out a few things. Message or comment if you want to ask questions or clarify. A suggestion for a new topic is also welcome.

 

 

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