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The Students of the Big Booth of Learning

It’s my third year of experiencing Founders Week. Walking around the Hibalag booths of different colleges, departments, organizations, fraternities, and sororities is nothing new to me. But my encounters with freshmen students are always different each year. I know a lot of them because I always have many chances to get to know them more. I’m a big sister who watches over four “smallies” in the dorm, a school paper editor who interviews students to get information for the stories I have to write, and simply a person who loves to learn from the younger years.

This year, a freshman from Manila approached me while touring the KMC booth, smiling while saying, “Hindi ko maipaliwanag, pero ate, iba talaga ang mga Sillimanians.” (I cannot explain it, but Sillimanians are different.)

I asked her what made her say that, and she explained that she came from two universities before enrolling in Silliman.

I found myself looking at my fellow Sillimanians more than the booths we occupy after that encounter. I also cannot explain it. I just know that there is indeed something distinct about Sillimanians; there are traits that I believe we possess which set us apart from the others.

First, our treatment to the ideals is commendable. We see ideals as something not just perfect, but something right. We also believe that these are achievable, and we try to reach it with pure intentions. The conditions of what’s ideal to us are the standards that are made to please God, the center of our university, so we get what we want and enjoy its fruits at the same time by doing what’s right. We understand that the world does not require us to be perfect and able to fully prove our worth; we remind ourselves that what matters is that we’re doing good things for the world’s betterment.

It is no surprise that international students always treasure the friendship they share with us. Being in a university where students come from different places is not a nuisance to us. We see differences positively by not letting it cause division. We are open to other people’s interests and opinions about different topics. My college barkada, for example, came from different places, and more than the different kinds of pasalubong we get from each other after vacation, we enjoy each other’s different ways.

We don’t tolerate injustice. We would do things together to contribute in lessening evil because we know we cannot do things alone. We believe in camaraderie. By not being driven by just our self-interests, we shine and influence other people in this desire. We know that our actions and words make an impact to others.

We are people of integrity. We practice doing well in handling responsibilities of all sizes even when no one’s watching.

Lastly, Sillimanians believe that each day is a chance to be better. We don’t just listen to good testimonies about our campus. Rather, the success stories of the alumni push us, students, to continue the good legacy passed on to us.

Her statement gave me hope. Sillimanians are always known to take steps to excellence no matter what. She reminded me of its importance; when we face challenges and problems along the way, it is the hope for better days ahead that keeps us going. May we continue to keep the hope burning and the Sillimanian traits present.

Responding to Her Wordbeats
Andrea D. Lim

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