By Alissa Z. Lacson and Ronelyn C. Vailoces
Four years ago, whenever we hear the word ‘college,’ we’d be overwhelmed by the thought of a career, a profession, a job. But once we get into it, it is more than the preparation for the “real world.” It is the cradle of moments, the first times for everything ‘adult,’ the growing-up stage. We take a look back into their journey of firsts, worsts, and bests as college students in the halls of Silliman.
Who was your first friend?
Ronelyn: I’m bad at remembering my first times but I could remember somebody asking for a piece of paper on my first day; I’m not sure if it was a Kathlea or a Jimcel. Paul, Saturnino, Kyrie, Laarni, Alexa, Ella, Gwen, Bea, Daphne, Keren, and Wrylan were my first college friends.
Alissa: Ako, I was struggling to make friends as I couldn’t speak the dialect (Cebuano) yet. But it was because of the first year orientation at the Amphitheatre when I was able to make friends. Lovelein, Richelle, and Aliah were my very first friends in college. Without them, I would’ve been so lost and confused in first year.
What is your first college memory?
R: I almost drowned in swimming class; I couldn’t even finish one lap…and until now it still haunts me. I can’t go deeper than 5 ft.
A: My first class was Speech with Ma’am Sygaco and there was a free seat beside me occupied by a latecomer. She asked me something in Bisaya but I didn’t understand what she said. I did say “Dili ko kasabot”—but to my surprise, she said “Oh,” and transferred to a different seat. We’re really close now so we just laugh about it!
What is your favorite moment in campus?
R: It would be sitting near a window pane in the Main Library, watching passers-by and observing the distant sky. It is a simple time for a college student yet it is one thing we need — a pause in a life full of deadlines. Solitude in Silliman is just so different, and college will never be the same again once we graduate.
Alissa: The ambiance in the amphitheatre is quite peaceful too. I especially love all my afternoons right under the acacia trees — laughing with friends, practicing for Speech choir, and taking pictures for Photography class.
What is your most awkward college moment?
R: Nothing is more awkward than my performance night at the Valentine Song Writing competition. I comfortably sing inside the classroom, but singing in front of many people brings me to pieces. But because of that simple #SquadGoal, I was able to conquer my fears for a night…thanks to Andrea, Leslie, Lizbeth, and Maegan.
A: Every time I felt left out because I couldn’t understand the dialect. Being in an ROTC uniform every Saturday felt so awkward for me simply because the boots and the gear made me look like a chipmunk.
What is your greatest mistake in college?
R: Taking exams without studying. I could have done better if I had been prepared.
A: Mine would have to be spending night outs and wasting money on vices I didn’t need. It was my lowest point in college and I’m so glad I turned away from it because I’ve achieved so much right after.
What was your hardest moment?
R: We meet different kinds of people that could test our patience. At some point, we destroy our relationships with them because all of us are put to the edge. But the most important thing is creating memories that are worth looking back while we are with them.
A: Projects and group works were tests of friendships throughout my college life. There are some friends who I’d just rather be friends with and not group mates because of their incompetency to follow deadlines and commitment to their tasks. It’s a tough decision to create that boundary, but there are people you have to separate from because you need to stop stressing yourself out and create an environment that will make you grow Sometimes, you have to cut off toxic people from your life for your own well-being.
What is the biggest decision you made in college?
R: Shifting from one course to another is probably one of my biggest decisions out of doubts, fears, and failed expectations. But sometimes we just have to be decisive and courageous enough to chase what we really want.
A: That’s funny because I felt the opposite. My course was really not my first option in Silliman and there were countless times, even until I was third year, when I wanted to shift. It was only after the field trips and my internship when I realized that my course was the best option for me; it was right for me and it was my passion all along.
What is your most unforgettable experience in college?
R: We were preparing for a presentation. We transferred from one place to another — Oriental Hall until 11 PM, Qyosko until 2 AM,and unfortunately Quezon Park until 5 AM since there was no coffee shop in town open for 24 hours. Back to work again at Oriental Hall by 7 AM until we presented at 1 PM. Several nights like these followed. College, without an experience like that, is somehow incomplete.
A: My most unforgettable experiences in college had to be the educational field trips because as a Masscom student, the companies we visited were all eye-openers for the real world. It was these field trips that made me know who I want to be in the future.
What is your most favorite part of the campus?
R: I enjoy the back portion in the 2nd floor of the Main Library—conducive for reading and sleeping. When we leave the halls of Silliman, every corner of Silliman is our favorite part.
A: That’s really true, Ron. We might not appreciate the halls of Silliman, but just thinking about it already makes me feel nostalgic. The halls, the acacia trees, the “Toblerone”…every part of the campus is such a beauty.
What will you miss most when you leave?
R: I hate goodbyes, but I will surely miss the people in Silliman. The sleepless nights, the presentations, the outputs, the feeling when one requirement is done, yet another one is waiting to be started…the fine-walk, the chitchats, the fights, the events, almost everything about college.
A: Mostly I will miss the friendships I made. For the four years I’ve been in this college, from the three friends who stood by all my “dili ko kasabot” moments to having most of my batch as friends just makes me, not only proud of myself, but also so happy that I created a bond with almost everyone. I’ve laughed with them, I’ve worked with them, I’ve argued with them but I’ll definitely miss all of them when I leave.
What is the best thing you’ve learned in college?
R: College can either make you or break you. You can choose to enjoy it or be miserable and take every work load as a problem. Whatever you want to become, learn from every experience and remember the people who help you along the way.
A: No one can help you but yourself. We want to learn to be independent and that’s exactly what we get. From eating alone to working alone up to 2 AM, there’s no one you can truly rely on but you. You’ll realize your capabilities and your self-worth.
As we take our last steps in campus, don’t we all wish to just stay a little bit longer? To pause life for a while and just enjoy the amphitheatre, the auditorium, and the halls of Silliman? But how about you? How was your stay?