Anxious Memories of the Senses

by Kim Lee G. Chua

Anxious. As I’m writing this, the second semester for the academic year 2020-2021 is only a week away. The anxiousness I feel isn’t like being like a deer caught in headlights as your professor gives you a look of dismay when you didn’t read the case or answer a simple question. It also isn’t quite about the ongoing pandemic either. I also feel that it’s not synchronous and asynchronous learning either, that’s a fact of life in the current times. The entire problem stems from the fact that I scarcely remember the past few years of staying in the College of Law.
I remember walking almost every day to the bus stop in Ayala going to BGC after my work as a paralegal. I visualize the glaring sun, the heat, the cold, the rain, the street signs, and the routes I take to go there. I can draw up a rough sketch of the facade of the campus as well as the literal hole in the wall a few meters away, where we get our cheap eats.
The tragedy of isolation is that it’s hard to tap into the entirety of your senses for those moments. I can’t tap into the memory of the scent of fresh air from Sycip park, how my bus buddies sound like, or the feeling of a cold steel against my fingertips from the bus railing that I hold on to while muttering a prayer to not be late for class due to EDSA traffic.
The sounds of scratching pens or tape erasers sliding along blue books that break the monotony of a silent classroom during exam time have managed to elude me. The tension in the air from a bad recitation isn’t palpable either as we look at each other and the professor from our computer screens.
The ability to recall minute details is what makes us well… law students. It’s what we train for aside from analyzing and understanding the law in order to become lawyers. Every day is preparation for topping the Bar.
We’ve seen some of our classmates be able to archive and sort memories easily by creating a mental image of a relevant page. Others read their materials several times, over coffee and snacks from their desks or coffee shops. Writing down lessons and creating reviewers is another means I’ve experienced and has worked decently for the most part.
However, the one that works best for me is tapping into the events inside the classroom. How each person reacts to a hilarious joke smoothly put in by a professor during a discussion, or how everyone’s voices sound while on deck, or even the bad recitations I’ve made over the years. It’s also the way the professor delivers the lecture on the intricacies or the real world application of the law. I use all these memories to remember while reviewing for the exams.
Being in online class is an entirely different beast, as my first few days have shown, but I believe that this may be the way forward in order to teach and learn in the grand manner for the modern world. We will pull through and we’ll see each other again soon.
How do I feel now about another semester in law school? Anxious, but at the same time, hopeful in the opportunities of this terra incognita. Padayon. Stay safe everyone.