LGBT Bar topnotcher: 'I promised myself that I would push it to the very limit'

MANILA, Philippines – The results of the 117th bar exam were officially released by the Supreme Court on Friday, May 3.

Sean James Borja of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) aced the bar with a score of 89.306%.
LGBT Bar topnotcher: “I promised myself that I would push it to the very limit”

LGBT Bar topnotcher: “I promised myself that I would push it to the very limit”
Sean James Borja is 2018 Bar exam’s topnotcher | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Ateneo de Manila Law School

But before he made a name in the bigger world, Sean James Borja already made an impressive mark as he was hailed as Ateneo Law School’s Valedictorian.

SEE ALSO: Ateneo, University of San Carlos grads dominate 2018 Bar Exam

Borja delivered his rousing speech during the 72nd Annual Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo Law School on July 15, 2018 at the Meralco Theater in Pasig.

Borja first opened up that he is a proud “homosexual law student.” But instead of it being a hurdle, he admitted it actually motivated him to excel more.

He began his speech with, “This will come as no surprise to many of you: I am an openly homosexual law school student.”

Borja went on to share that being part of the LGBT community has made him want to excel even further, to prove his worth, and to work twice as hard.

“When I got to law school, I promised myself that I would push it to the very limit. I promised that if there was ever a path where I could become my best version, I would take that path and see how far someone like me could possibly go,” he added.

Borja’s inspiring words aimed at three important values he wanted to share with this fellow graduates.

First, he talked about the Myth of Sisyphus, which tells the story of Sisyphus who was tasked by the Gods to continually push a heavy boulder up a mountain. Sadly, whenever he reached the summit, the boulder would once again come rolling down.

Borja talked about the importance of perseverance and determination amidst seemingly impossible tasks. He said, “Failure is not a disability, it’s just a bruise, and a setback can be the perfect setup for a comeback if you just make it happen. Trust yourself, trust in the process, and know in your heart it will be worth it when you reach that summit."

The proud Valedictorian also asked the law school graduates to be be wary of entitlement.

He said, “It doesn’t matter who you are. The world doesn’t stop for anybody, not even those who took up law. Let’s not be that person who waves the “abogado ako” flag as if it was our ticket to demand special treatment from anybody. And I mean anybody. Dispel the notion that we deserve respect, happiness, and all the other good things in life by default. Because as my mom and my dad taught me, anything worth it in life has to be fought hard and earned."

True to Atenean values, Borja went on to motivate his fellow graduates to work for the good of others. He said, “Do everything that you love for all the good people."

He continued, “It’s great to achieve things for ourselves, but when what and who we wake up for is ourselves alone, there will come a day when we’ll run out of energy and lose meaning in the things we do. Our dreams are fueled by the love and kindness that we get from the world, whether that be from somebody close or from a complete stranger.”

Before receiving a wide round of applause from his fellow graduates, Borja urged them to value those who helped them achieve their dreams.

Borja said, “As we reach for the sky, never forget the people who would go through the nine circles of hell with us just to see us come through. Never forget the family and friends who have embraced and accepted us at our worst, and who have cheered us on without condition."

For the 2018 Bar exam, only 1,800 passed out of the 8,158 hopefuls (22.07%).

— Sally, The Summit Express

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