By Zea Capistrano
Davao City -It was a long-cherished dream of 38-year-old grade school teacher Lorenza Cardiño Pitulan to become a certified public accountant (CPA) lawyer. It took her almost 12 years and three tries to pass the bar before she finally succeeded in becoming one of the 2,103 bar passers out of the 7,685 takers.
Pitulan is an English teacher at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) Grade School. She came from Ateneo de Zamboanga where she spent six years teaching, including a two-year graduate study leave, before moving to Davao in 2008.
By June of 2008, Pitulan was already juggling her time as a teacher at the ADDU, of being a new mother, and a freshman law student at the University of Mindanao (UM).
“I reported to work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., just an hour’s gap before I had to be present for my law classes from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. I usually arrived home after an hour,” she said.
Pitulan said she had very limited time to prepare for her class in law school so she had to study until midnight to keep up with the lessons. The tedious schedule became her daily routine, with only Sunday as her rest day.
But even while she was working, Pitulan said she made sure not to let her studies affect her role as a teacher.
“Just confident to mention that never had I used my working time for studies because working in a prestigious university requires that I should give my 100 percent time for work alone, and nothing more,” she said.
Pitulan said she was lucky not to have gotten sick despite her lack of sleep as she even managed to finish her law studies after four years, and graduate as an honor student.
She immediately took the bar exams after her graduation. She availed of a six-month personal leave, and attended review classes every day. However, she did not pass the bar.
In 2013, she tried again. Only this time, she no longer applied for a personal leave, working full-time while managing to attend weekend review classes.
During the bar exam month, she requested to go on-leave for 20 days to prepare more extensively, and take the examination. And after the last Sunday of the grueling bar exams, she promptly returned to work the following day. But she failed to pass the bar anew.
But Pitulan said quitting never crossed her mind. “After the second failure, I rested and never bothered to open any law book. Quitting never crossed my mind, for deep within I knew that there will always be a right time for me,” she said.
Pitulan said it took her six years to “awaken the dream that has long been sleeping.”
“If you would ask kung ano talaga ang pinaka-essential para makapasa ng bar, it’s really preparation,” she said.
For six months, she spent the time inside the school library at San Sebastian Recoletos in Manila from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, taking only short breaks for meals.
Finally, her hard work paid off. A phone call from one of her friends congratulating her last Wednesday was the time she had been waiting for.
“For those who didn’t make it this time, I hope that you will also tell yourselves that there will always be the right time for you. Never quit for failure is part of life. Just keep on believing that God listens and has plans for you,” she added.
Pitulan had also wanted to become a certified public accountant (CPA), but her list of degrees is formidable enough to show her true mettle. After all she has tucked under her belt degrees in Bachelor of Science in Education Major in English; Master of Arts in Peace and Development; and Bachelor of Laws. And now, she has also become a full-fledged lawyer.
While she remains open to opportunities in government service or in private practice, Pitulan said her plans this year “will be dependent on where will God lead me”, although she has made it clear that teaching will always be part of her life.