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I miss the days when life was so simple, hunger could be solved by digging through my storage box. It was one of those regular plastic crates you could easily stash under your bed. If my week’s selection of cookies, bread, and instant oatmeal sachets proved unappetizing for those all-nighters, McDo was simply a call away.

Now living pseudo-independently as a law student who’s extending her welcome in her parents’ pockets, life is way more difficult. Not only do I have to account for every penny I spend, but I also have my health to think about. And this isn’t over analyzing anything. Law school means corporate attire. And corporate attire means figure-hugging pencil skirts that are, more often than not, unwelcoming to pear shaped, bottom-rich girls like me. If I eat beyond my allowable calorie intake of the day, the next day’s wardrobe choice significantly decreases. And squeezing into my favorite pencil skirt isn’t any good, because then I’d have to tummy-tuck my way through the day until 09:30 pm. And my day starts at around lunch time, sitting for hours at end inside a coffee shop, head down, flipping through pages and pages of readings. I have to endure all that. Unlike my legally-incapacitated days aka when I was around 17, overeating and a decrease in wardrobe choices were easily solved by calling up mom (who by the way is really awesome in picking clothes for me), asking her to drop by the dormitory for bags of new clothes. Or doing another round of jogging during cheerleading practice. Poof.

Now, corporate attires are expensive. In college I had two choices. If my parents gave me Php10k to throw away on clothes, I could choose between high end short shorts, daisy dukes, and flirty dresses that would only last as long as any Hollywood wedding; or Greenhills shopping spree for the same fabric-deprived clothing, with money to spare for drinks and movie. Now, shopping for law school attires means bringing a ruler to see if that love-at-first-sight skirt or dress would make it to the 2-inch above the knee rule and looking for the stretchiest fabric for those unforgiving pencil skirts. And it’s not like I have Greenhills to shop for those either.

Coffee shops. Now that’s another problem. I had the option to be a poser at a coffee shop for around 2 hours back in college; now, coffee shops are very much like salvation from distractions that might stop me from reaching my 200-pages-a-day quota. Coffee shops are my only hope nowadays to be antisocial. How ironic.

And it’s not like allowance pours like crazy like it did before. As I’ve said, I am overstaying my welcome in my parents’s pocket. Every little allowance outburst is coupled by a frantic reminder in my head that I should be earning and treating my parents out but no, I am depriving them of the pleasure of enjoying the last few years of hard-earned salary before they retire.

Sometimes I wonder why I go through all this to be a lawyer in the Philippines.