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Ramona Nebunu - Memories from the shell | People of Justice 2023 Bucharest

Ramona Nebunu took to the Justice People '23 stage with a story about how the insecurity we feel today can turn into the security and self-control of tomorrow. With memories from her college days, Ramona took us along a path that step by step built in each of us the confidence that the world doesn't end at the first bad moment in our lives.

Author: Ramona Nebunu

We were coming from a place where teachers and parents offered me the best, but I ended up in a town and a uni where the best in my hometown wasn't enough. That's how I understood that I had to shut up, stay in my shell. But what I discovered is that the struggle with my own beliefs is not easy and that coming out of your shell never ends.

I was at the first seminar in college. Seminar in constitutional law. I was sitting in a pew somewhere in the back, trying to make myself as small as possible. What I remember from the seminar is: Mirela had an opinion about everything. Matei not only had an opinion about the Constitution, Matei seemed like he could recite the Constitution. And some of Ioana's confidence made me believe that she even knew where the commas were placed in the constitutional law manual. For me it wasn not clear what the Parliament was. I came from Motru. A small town, with only two traffic lights that don't work. I was coming from a place where teachers and parents offered me the best. But I ended up in a town and a university where the best in my hometown wasn't enough. I also had a sense of looking things in the face when it was about me, and when it came to about other people I thought that what what I saw was everything. I thought that if someone knows one thing, he clearly knows everything. And that if I don't know what he knows, then I have nothing to say. That's how I understood it. that I had to keep quiet, to stay in my shell.

Two exams followed that I simply skipped, two other failed and a summer of studying. Despite all that, I didn't give up on the law school. I was saved by my optimism and the belief that few things are impossible. I started learning. The sheer volume of information no longer seemed overwhelming as I progressed through the subjects bit by bit. But although I was learning now, I still had the faith that others knew better and that I should keep quiet. And I felt that as an injustice that I was doing to myself. The Civil Law seminar reminded me of the Romanian lessons in high school. In the Civil Law seminar we used to wonder what the legislator meant, in Romanian lessons we wondered what the poet meant. In both we were constructing reasoning together. Only that I coundn't wait for the Romanian lessons, to unravel one more mystery, whereas in the Civil Law seminar I couldn't wait to get through without being put to say something.

I remember how horrified I was the first time I raised my hand to answer. My hand was shaking, I felt my heart rate rising, I could feel my heart somewhere in my throat and somewhere deep inside, I hoped that professor wouldn't see me. But lucky for me, he did. As I recall, I gave a very short answer, but I was very happy that I did. This little thing was for me the germination of the idea that I have a voice that I could say something with. There were also moments when I thought I was going to stop.

At the Civil Procedure seminar, taking place at eight in the morning the professor asked us what the judge does at the first trial. I'm a pacifist of sorts, so I found myself answering that the judge, at the first trial, should try to... And here my brain just froze. And here my brain just froze. In my mind were just împace, împece, and I had no idea which option to choose.I chose împece.

"Yes”, says the professor and I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking I've chosen the right one. “That's right”, he continues, “the judge, at the first trial must try to reconcile the parties. That's what our colleague meant to say.” And everyone started to laugh. What I was most afraid of had happened. It's just that what I thought was the worst thing that could happen, wasn't so bad. The professor noticed that I was upset, said it was normal to make mistakes sometimes, the seminar continued as normal and probably the next day I was the only one thinking about what happened. And thankfully, that moment didn't stop me from going out out of my shell. On the contrary. I'm past through the hardest and I felt that from that moment nothing could stop me. And so it was. But what I discovered is that the struggle with my own beliefs is not easy and that coming out of your shell never ends. But I promised myself that I wouldn't stop doing it. So today I'm speaking on a stage in front of 500 people. Looking back, I still can't believe I'm doing it.

The Constitutional Law seminar, in whatever form it may be, is not the same today. Now I know that Mirela, Matei and Ioana know some things and others don't, just like me. I know not only how the Parliament works, but also what I would like to change in the way some public institutions work. Or don't work. I know that a blow in a fight, it doesn't mean that the battle is lost. And I also know that... outside of a shell is freedom.

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