A Veneer of Melancholy

by Roilan Rigil Kent A. Alonzo

There is a melancholy that seeps through our daily navigation of an otherwise online world.

When before, there was an oft dreaded journey from home to school, littered with sweat, tears, and fear—and capped off with an eternal relief at the end of the day—now there is only an uneventful and robotic stroll from bed to desk, and desk to bed.

When before, embarrassing recitations are cushioned with the assurance of likewise-beleaguered classmates and trivialized over bottles of beer, now, there is merely the shutting of the video, the muting of the audio, and the deafening silence of solely dealing with sometimes–crippling self-doubt and anxiety.

When before, staple events of the College would break routine and provide brief shining moments of much needed reprieve for students, faculty, and staff alike, now, there is only gazing at the same screen after arduous weeks of school, if only for different content.

Yet, despite this apparent gloom, I believe that there is also hope.

It is a hope brought about by laughter and bubbly joy blasted through earphones in a virtual game night, alluding to a momentous day once restaurants and bars open shop. On that day, warmth and elation will be easily replicated, for it was never really lost.

It is a hope brought about by glinting eyes, unfazed by those masks and plastic shields, when one bumps into a fellow law student in court while fulfilling legal internship dues. Surely, behind that mask is a smile spanning from ear to ear, and an assurance that once this is all over, smiles will surge, and eyes will be glimmering among friends—a longing finally satisfied.

It is a hope brought about by a simple and silent virtual study session after a day of online classes, reminding us that we were always together in the pursuit of our dream. One day we will all become lawyers that we were all meant to be, imbibing a brand of honor and excellence tested by a sui generis pandemic.

Yes, there is melancholy left behind by a pandemic that unceremoniously excised many parts of life in a law school that we have come to know so well.

But, despite it all, there has always been hope.