Bar topnotcher Karen Mae Calam hopes to inspire others to dream big
MANILA, Philippines – Growing up far from the city in Kalilangan town in Bukidnon, Karen Mae Calam saw how her fellow townsfolk seemed to fear having big dreams.
Calam, who topped the 2016 Bar Exams, said she wants to inspire people from small towns and “simple families” like hers to dream big because they, too, can achieve their goals through hard work and prayers.
"We're from a simple family. I'm from Kalilangan, Bukidnon. It's far from the city. In a way, people there are afraid to dream, if it's too big," Calam said in a media interview shortly after the Supreme Court announced the Bar exam results. (READ: List of passers: 2016 Bar Exams)
She said she hopes to inspire others, especially public school students like her, that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
"I want to be an inspiration to all those studying in public schools. It's really not impossible for you to have this, [something] as big as this. So I hope I'll be an inspiration not just to those who want to become a lawyer but even those who don't want to be lawyers: Never doubt yourself," Calam said.
Calam is the second professional in her family. Her sister is a doctor.
"To be a doctor, to be a lawyer – if you come from a simple family, it's really a big dream," she said.
Calam said there was no pressure from her mother, the administrative head of a public hospital in Kalilangan town, to become a lawyer. "In my own time, it will happen," she said of her goal to enter the legal profession.
Calam said in an interview on ANC on Wednesday that she was still processing the "shocking" news that she had topped the Bar.
"I really didn't expect it, although you pray for it to God. You pray for it as early as you go to law school….[This is] beyond, beyond beyond what I prayed for," she said.
When asked, Calam said she owed her feat to her school, the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu, and the support of her family, friends, her fiancé and his family, while preparing for the Bar.
She said she would go to the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño in Cebu to thank her patron.
Calam is one of 4 USC law graduates among the top 10 Bar passers for 2016. – Rappler.com