It’s been three years since I left the halls of Silliman… and I’m still lost.
It’s been three long years of switching jobs, paying bills, meeting old and new friends, but I’m still here, trying to figure out where I want to go and who I really want to be. And I’d like to believe that I’m not the only one facing this predicament. Almost every time I hang out with my peers, we tend to talk about the same thing: the quarter-life crisis—or “adulting,” as we’d like to call it.
Back in college, we used to believe that we, along with our block or batch mates, would “bleed and cry together” no matter what. We used to attend classes together; we used to advance from year to year together; we used to graduate together. The honor system isn’t that different, either: achieve this certain QPA within a semester and you get class honors. Keep on doing that and you climb up to college honors, then you get a key, then University Honors.
But all that changed when we entered the “real world.” Unlike college, we wouldn’t be bleeding and crying together—we were starting to develop different paths and live different lives of our own. And unlike the honor system in college, the real world doesn’t set the goals for us to achieve; we realize that we need to set them ourselves. You start feeling the pangs of adulthood sooner than expected, thanks to Facebook. You see all these posts from your former college buddies getting their dream jobs, traveling places, getting proposed to, getting married, having kids, while you’re still single and stuck in a corporate eight-to- five job you’re starting to loathe. And then you ask yourself existential questions, such as “What in the world am I doing with my life?”
This is pretty much the reality that awaits every individual who manages to get out of college. He or she hurdles several “hell weeks” in the hopes of finding paradise, only to find himself or herself in a more complicated hell soon after. Frustrating, I know.
But we Sillimanians are lucky, because in the midst of the frustration that is adulthood, we find a beacon every August. This beacon is exactly why we make it a point to take long leaves from work and save up a lot of money to travel to Dumaguete, even when our bosses and colleagues sometimes don’t understand why.
Our perspectives and experiences differ, but we graduates all have one reason why we look forward to Founders Week—we miss college. At least for a week, we can rid ourselves of work pressures and bills and be (or at least pretend to be) college students again. Founders Week will always remind us that while we may be lost, we are not—and never will be—hopeless.
Raffy Cabristante graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Mass Communication degree, magna cum laude. He is set to return to Manila in September to work as a social media producer for GMA News.