Single mom from Ilocos Norte overcomes self-doubt to pass Bar exam on 3rd try: ‘We all have our moment’
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — On the day of the release of the Bar examination results on April 14, Loi Kristel Mendoza Tubera of Vintar town in this province was all alone inside a church.
And when the results were finally out, her phone started to buzz with notifications, but she ignored them.
She thought she did not make it again on her third try.
“I got used to not seeing my name, so the acceptance this time if I do not make it will be faster. I thought the notifications were from people reaching out to offer comfort,” Tubera told the Inquirer in an interview on Monday, April 17.
But she said that it was the people who reached out and offered help that made all the difference on her third attempt to become a licensed lawyer.
Overcoming her pride, she opened her doors just as she had done when she thought everyone had turned their backs on her when she did not pass the exams in 2018 and 2019.
The 30-year-old newly minted lawyer realized that she was “not alone in this journey. Dati kasi, sinolo ko (It was because I kept it to myself) but for this Bar examination, there were people who wanted to help, so I opened up and accepted them.”
On April 14, Tubera was one of the 3,992 passers of the 9,183 examinees for the November 2022 Bar exams.
Passing the Bar exam was a grueling journey for Tubera, who navigated law school while raising a son as a single mother and taking care of her own mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I had to give up my job in 2017 while in law school so I could take care of my mother and my son,” Tubera said. And just when she graduated and started to review for the 2018 Bar examinations, her father also faced a major health crisis that necessitated an admission to a hospital’s intensive-care unit.
After two attempts, she accepted her reality, and the only way for her to survive the review stage for the third time was to “let [things] be.”
“I no longer resisted, hindi ko na linabanan (I did not resist) by wishing for things to be different than my situation then. I surrendered everything to the Lord and accepted, prayers work talaga (really),” she said.
Aside from this, Tubera said that she strategized ways to make the most of her situation.
And if she would not make it again on her third attempt, she said she was ready to accept whatever the outcome would be because she also needed to think about the future of her son.
“I was ready to turn my back on my dream of becoming a lawyer and seek another career aside from being in the legal field,” she said.
But she will not deny that not passing the 2018 and 2019 exams were a “traumatic” experience for her.
“I reached a point where I questioned everything; why was I experiencing this; why was my family going through all these problems while I was studying for the Bar. Why have I not made it despite exerting efforts,” she said.
Tubera revealed that she decided not to pursue taking the 2020-2021 Bar Examinations anymore because she was already “ashamed” to ask for help from her family. She remained thankful that her siblings continued to support her and believed that she would become a lawyer.
And through all this, it was her 8-year-old son, who has been with her since law school days and who kept her going as she shared how he pushed and motivated her to continue studying when she felt like giving up.
“We all will have our moments talaga, hindi man tayo sabay-sabay (really, we may not be together),” Tubera advises those who did not make it on the list this time.
Looking back, a tearful Tubera said she had to go through failures and challenges to mold her into the kind of person and lawyer that she would become.
“If I became a lawyer then, my strength and wisdom would not be the same as the ones that I have today,” added Tubera.
For those who did not make it, Tubera advised keeping the faith.
“We are built to experience different kinds of battles or difficulties, but through all of these, He knows that we will surpass.”
The stigma persists for retakers of the Bar examinations, but she said that those who are aspiring to become lawyers should “carry on and stop only when you believe that you have exerted everything.”
“Other people will always have their opinions, but if they have not personally experienced what it was like to take the Bar examinations, let alone do it twice, or numerous times, they will never understand. Just don’t lose hope,” she said. INQ