People and Ideas

From students to attorneys, how these two Cebuanos realized their dreams

They say you’re always one decision away from a totally different life.

But how does one take a step toward a life-changing decision? 

For two Cebuanos, it was a matter of wanting to become better professionals and be able to make a difference in their community. 

Darren L. Ruelan, 33, and Kimberly Kathe O. Medalle, 31, once dreamed of being called ’attorneys.’ After four challenging years and what is considered as the toughest licensure examination in the country, that dream finally became a reality last April 12, 2022. 

(L-R): Atty. Paulino A. Yabao (Univ. President), Atty. Peter B. Cañamo (current Dean, School of Law), Atty. Darren Ruelan, Atty. Kimberly Medalle, and Atty. Alicia E. Bathan (former Dean, School of Law) | Contributed Photo

When the first-ever digital Bar Exam results were out, it reported that 8,241 out of 11,402 hopefuls passed, equivalent to a passing rate of 72.28 percent.

Out of these successful passers, two exemplary passers are from the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF). 

If you’re thinking about taking the first step to achieving a dream, let’s be inspired by personal notes from Atty. Ruelan and Atty. Medalle. 

Why law?

Like any other kid, Medalle, who hails from Minglanilla, Cebu, was taught to focus on her academic performance and to always aim higher. This pushed Medalle to become an achiever and a consistent honor student since she was young. 

However, even as a registered nurse, Medalle didn’t see herself working for a hospital or medical institution, which led her to work in the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry after she passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure Exam. 

Atty. Kimberly Kathe O. Medalle

After getting married, she asked herself if she was ready for a new career. With a little bit of encouragement from her husband, who is also an attorney, she decided to try law school and said she would quit after a semester if it didn’t work out. Turns out she enjoyed the demands, challenges, and drama that law school had in store for her. 

From a small town in Alcoy, Cebu, the goal was simple for Ruelan — to help more people. He aspires to be able to make a difference, if not in the world, at least in the lives of others. 

After working in the accounting and banking industry, he wanted to become part of the legal profession with hopes of contributing to the betterment of society as well as teach more people the importance of the rule of law. 

Law School

Studying law is definitely no walk in the park. USPF School of Law Dean Atty. Peter B. Cañamo said that the successful passers manifested a disciplined approach and study habits when they were in law school. 

And Ruelan and Medalle proved that although they started as beginners, they definitely finished law school with the confidence to take on any challenge.  

“The USPF School of Law has been instrumental in my preparation for the bar exam. The institution has imparted to me the vital legal knowledge and skills to take on the challenges ahead in my journey of becoming a lawyer,” Ruelan shared. 

Atty. Darren L. Ruelan

Ruelan shares that one of his most memorable moments as a law student was meeting the people he would need to survive his law school journey. 

“They were some of the people who supported and motivated me during all my ups and downs as a law student and ultimately in taking the bar exam, and I am so blessed that I met these people,” he said.

USPF School of Law boasts of its high-quality education evidenced by its hardworking and determined students. 

As a working mom and law student, Medalle shared that USPF was a welcoming institution. Studying law while getting pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding, and taking care of a newborn was indeed no easy ride for her. 

“We are a Law School with a heart. Only USPF Law graduates can understand this. If people want to know and experience this, they have to enroll with USPF Law School,” Atty. Cañamo said.

“USPF School of Law was like a welcoming educational institution. I was drawn to it because of its class schedule and its treatment of working students like me,” Medalle shared. 

Medalle emphasizes that USPF School of Law helped her realize skills and abilities she didn’t know she had until taking up law. 

“The environment is conducive to learning and personal growth. The school is very understanding and accommodating to the personal lives of the students as long as the concerns are reasonable. The law professors are also very knowledgeable, updated, and relatable,” she added.

USPF School of Law also has the easiest and fastest enrollment process for interested students to check. 

Atty. Peter B. Cañamo, current Dean of USPF School of Law.

“We are a Law School with a heart. Only USPF Law graduates can understand this. If people want to know and experience this, they have to enroll with USPF Law School,” Atty. Cañamo said.

The Bar Exams

Exhausting is only one word to describe the gruesome exam days of aspiring lawyers during the digital exam held earlier this year. 

Ruelan remembers how he was excited yet nervous at the same time. Medalle recalls how, when the exams were done, it seemed to her that one of the most fulfilling chapters of her life closed by the end of the day.   

“Sometimes you would also feel unmotivated to study, and that is when discipline comes in,” Ruelan shared. 

But indeed, after graduating from law school, only half of the work is done. The preparation for the bar exams was almost twice as hard as in the past years when you had to study law. 

“Sometimes you would also feel unmotivated to study, and that is when discipline comes in,” Ruelan shared. 

Studying harder is not enough, you should also study smarter like Ruelan, who followed the suggestions of his professors, reviewers, and others who already hurdled the bar. 

During the review for the Bar Exams, Medalle also listened to the advice of previous passers, including best practices. So she immediately drew up her study schedule and mentally prepared herself to stick to it no matter what when she graduated law in 2020. 

“I was told to stick to one textbook, one review material, and one codal, so I did. I also followed the syllabi to the letter. I allotted buffer days for when I get sick, or feel unmotivated, or for some mental health break,” she shared. 

The results

Happy and overjoyed would be an understatement to describe Ruelan’s and Medalle’s reactions after finding out they passed the Bar Exams with exemplary performance. 

“When it was announced that 72.28 percent of the examinees passed the exams, I admit that I was relieved… But when the list of passers with exemplary performance was released with my name included, I screamed. I cried. I was shaking. I did not expect to be part of the 761 exemplary passers,” Medalle shared. 

Like the other successful examinees, Ruelan also easily considers the day the results came out as the happiest day of his life. 

“Indeed, it was one of the happiest days of my life. All the years of hard work and sacrifices finally came to fruition,” he added. 

Realize your dreams at USPF 

“Being in law school requires a lot of sacrifices,” shares Ruelan. But USPF School of Law, composed of esteemed faculty members and professionals who are experts in their chosen fields, did not only impart knowledge of the law but also encouraged him and his fellow students to strive and believe in their dreams.

“And it is important to use what the school has taught you and put in a lot of effort and hard work to become a lawyer,” Medalle shared.


Ruelan said that law school has not only opened doors to a fulfilling and exciting career, but it has also allowed him to meet people with whom he keeps close relationships until today.

“The school is one of the main sources of guidance when aspiring to become a lawyer,” according to Medalle. “And it is important to use what the school has taught you and put in a lot of effort and hard work to become a lawyer.” 

Even when she has work and family to balance, Medalle shared that USPF School of Law Medalle molded her and helped her pass the bar exams with exemplary performance.

ONLINE and ONSITE enrollment for all levels (Basic Education Department, Tertiary Department, Graduate School, and School of Law) for First Semester SY 2022-2023 is ongoing. | Inquire today

Decisions are the hardest things to make, especially when it is a choice between where you should be and where you want to be, but USPF School of Law is always ready to help you realize your dreams. 

To know more about USPF School of Law and other programs of USPF, head over to today. 


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