My College Days at SU
This is a brief blog about my college days at SU in Dumaguete City, Oriental Negros in the Visayas Region of the Philippines. I flew in by PAL airlines and my sister went to the airport with me on my departure. It was the Summer eons of years ago, when I first set foot on this lovely campus of Silliman. The place wasn’t crowded with students because the last school year have just ended and I wanted an early start before the next school year kicks in. There were not too many summer students so it was easy to enroll and get accepted right away, no more waiting period. Then finding a place to stay was not really a problem, I checked the bulletin board for vacant rooms to rent. If none was available at the moment I was just going to check into a hotel for a day while searching for a place to stay for the summer period of two months.
While I was reading the ads at the bulletin board, a professor at SU was passing by and asked me if I was looking for a place to stay for the summer or next school year. He introduced himself as a Professor in Theology and if I was interested they have a vacant room at his residence for 3 students for the summer that I can rent if I don’t mind having roommates. I inquired if his home is near the school area and he told me it’s a walking distance to the school. His wife is an English Professor and their teenage son lives with them.
This was a great offer so I asked if I can see the place before I commit to rent it. He agreed and since he was on his way home that afternoon I arrived at the school after enrolling, he carried my luggage while we walked to his home. Maybe we should take a pedicab i told him but he said, it’s ok if we take a walk. After ten minutes we reached the edge of the school area and right there was his beautiful bungalow house. His wife opened the door and welcomed us, the room for rent was small but looked comfortable with a bed, bunk bed and some furniture. I agreed to stay and got the bed instead of the bunk bed. Two girls from Agusan and Surigao will be joining me later on I was told. They reserved the bunk bed for them. After unpacking my bags, they invited me for dinner and I accepted but it was understood that they provided lodging only and not boarding so I had to use the school cafeteria from then on. The student from Surigao del Norte became my best friend but the one from Agusan had her own ‘barkada’ group so to say. Ellen and I became buddies and we walk to school everyday that summer. I’d invite her to study at the quiet beach instead of the noisy library and we would study there for hours and bring food for a picnic at the beach. Sometimes we go for a swim when the beach gets so crowded for studying.
It was a great summer and after two months we parted ways and when I came back for the school year opening I stayed in a cooperative-dormitory this time. I lost track of Ellen or maybe she never came back to SU. In the dorm there was a huge living room with a dining area and there were five bedrooms, four of which the 4 to 5 students occupied each bedroom and the other bedroom was for the house-mother in charge of Camia Hall Dormitory. The board and lodging was cheaper because we had to help on the household chores like cleaning the dorm, help in the kitchen and do our own laundry.
We called it commune living but really we were more like one big extended family. We helped each other along the way and even run the risk of getting grounded for covering up our roommate’s mischief like staying out on dates after lights out at night time when they were supposed to be asleep already. It was a great way to learn how to be independent, responsible and reliable in so many ways. It also helped us to find good friends and study buddies. It wasn’t the best of both worlds; like the school life and dorm life but we managed to survive and still get good grades. We learned to take good care of each other and when someone gets sick, there’s always a nice roommate to watch over us and we take turns doing just that. Life at this dorm was quite peaceful; whereas the other dorms around us have troubles all the time. I guess we were just plain lucky.
During school midterm breaks we all leave the dorm and go back home to our families for a week or two depending on our school semester’s schedule. One time I stored my old acoustic guitar and some of our belongings in the basement storage but somehow a thief managed to steal most of our stored stuff including my old guitar. When I found out that I’ve lost my guitar, I went to Mactan in Cebu to buy a new acoustic white guitar to use for my evening guitar lessons at the school’s music hall building. It was a great sounding guitar and our music teacher was so impressed by the sound of it even if it had nylon strings. It sounded as good as a steel stringed acoustic guitar. Then after our guitar lessons were completed we had a music recital held at the auditorium with the rest of the music groups.
Studying at Silliman University in Dumaguete City was a great experience in my life and an essential part of my teenage years. I’ve learned to be independent and make my own decisions at an early stage. Even choosing the Sorority I have to be a member of was not easy. I just made sure that some of the masters were my friends and that way I won’t be so out of place with the new group. There were lots of activities going on in college. We even have to attend rallies to show our support for the present political issues and other matters of importance to our studies, school and our environment.
This is where my evening guitar lessons were held at the school’s music hall building now a museum.
College is not only a time for learning but also a time for bonding with friends and classmates. It’s also a time to reveal our crush to a best friend or buddy. Sometimes when the secret gets out and you end up getting teased and it’s kinda fun as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. Once I had a crush on this new American kid in our class and everyone knew about it except him, funny but it can happen.
The Ex-UP Diliman kid, Eugene is the guy on my right with my classmates.
Then one time everyone had a crush on this good-looking ex-UP Diliman kid, Eugene, except me. And guess whom he shared a table with, me! He probably noticed that I was the only one not swooning over him and when he asked to share my table, I gladly answered, yes before he changes his mind. He said something about it later on and I responded to him that I already have a BF and he said good because he too have a GF in Manila. But later on we became good friends and he would even offer to bring my heavy books and walk me home after our classes, much to the envy of my classmates. We even shared the accounting book I got if he forgets to bring his own book. He was such a smart kid and he told me that he was suspended from UP Diliman because he was too smart for his own good. Yeah, we would share a laugh or two and that was the extent of our friendship. I remembered clearly, the last time I talked to him, that just because he was suspended doesn’t mean that he had to give up everything that he had worked so hard for in his studies. I said to him to try and go back to UP and fight for his rights. He deserved to be heard and finish his studies there. He was an intelligent guy and I advised him to just be himself, then try to smarten up kiddo. The next thing I realized that he had left SU and was accepted back at UP and when I found out, all I could say was good for him. At least he can finish what he started at UP. Being in college makes one grow up, mature and be thoughtful and considerate, as for me that was the case but I really don’t know about other college students who grow up to be spoiled brats although others smarten up somehow, meh. Ah, those college days, you miss them but sometimes wish that they never were that unforgettable.
Silliman University Museum Hall in Dumaguete City, Oriental Negros.