16 September 2021

Signs of life: Yep, I'm finally here! A journey that started in 2018 now finally coming to fruition.
I'm officially an LLM in IP student! Hi, UNH Law!

It has been a while since I last wrote here, I know. I've always been meaning to but somehow as soon as everything started, time just whirred by so quickly. (As if we haven't been losing track of it since the pandemic again!)

I arrived in the US on July 30, after what seemed like a rollercoaster ride for the first half of 2021. I deferred admission from Fall of 2020, but even with situations improving in the US sometime during April, I still didn't allow myself to fully embrace the reality that enrollment will finally push through until I finally stepped off the plane.

It has been an exciting first two months to say the last. So far, since arriving, I've gone hiking, visited museums, published a paper, formed new friendships, and learned how much I don't know in the world of IP. 

Remember that old National Geographic tagline? "The more you know, the more you know you don't know." That has basically been the running theme of my life thus far. Every single day I find out about things I thought I already had enough working knowledge on and realize how much I have yet to discover.

This semester I'm taking Trademarks, Patent, Technology Licensing, Internet Law, and Art Law - all of which are incredibly interesting to me. I chose Trademarks because of the professor, Alexandra J. Roberts, who is basically one of the most well-known experts on US trademark law and the Lanham Act. She's well-regarded in the legal circles especially on Twitter, has been featured on numerous publications, and has been cited in a great number of scholarly articles. I'm so lucky she was also assigned as my Faculty Advisor. I'm looking forward to learning from her - and hopefully have her guide me through writing another paper, perhaps!

The actual emotional and mental journey to just get here is still astounding to me. I always have random moments of disbelief, because how could I ever have gotten here? If you told 2014 me that I would pursue further studies - and that I'd actually be good enough to get into a top 4 program - I would have thought you were making a mean, cruel joke. During the entirety of law school, I was anxious and deeply insecure. I couldn't think of a future where I could enjoy the law and the legal practice. "Is there even a space for me in the real world?" I'd often ask myself. And turns out, there is. I just had to go follow my interests and let them lead me to a field that I can actually, truly revel in.

So far, the main difference from law school in the Philippines? Here, it's a more relaxed, laidback classroom setting. Some professors do "cold calls" (their term for "recits") but it doesn't actually impact your performance in class; its sole purpose is to ensure that the discussion pushes forward. Because of this, there's less pressure in the daily grind and it's easier to enjoy going through the readings. The professors are also very sincere in wanting to help, and asking questions is highly encouraged. I don't think I've ever enjoyed reading cases as much as I have here; it's quite comparable to my undergrad experience, actually, where I take pleasure in actually burying myself in books and doing my homework. Which isn't to say the workload isn't heavy - in fact, only two months in and I'm already feeling slightly overwhelmed. But at least I'm genuinely having a good time poring over the readings. It's so refreshing, especially after the trauma of UP Law.

Anyway, I'm so excited about what lies ahead! I’m very thankful, grateful, and appreciative of my parents & loved ones, bosses, mentors, sisses in UP Portia, and friends who’ve encouraged and believed in me. I'm looking forward to learning more about the different aspects of IP and how each field can help shape our understanding of what it means to be IP practitioners. More importantly, I hope I can gain enough knowledge to carry back home, where my passion and experience can make a big difference. I've always said I’d love to make a big splash, a huge leap just before I turn 30. Well, I guess here goes. 💙

Follow Me on Instagram @karlabernardo


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