By Sarah Madison Repollo | August 25, 2023
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. The incessant alarm ringing signals the start of Carmela Palmares’ day. She stumbles her way to the bathroom, determined to get there before the rest of her roommates. The fight for the comfort room begins. Her pace quickens as the other girls clamor for the shower. Like most humans, she bathes, brushes her teeth, gets dressed, and eats breakfast. After all, Edith Carson Hall always has a hearty meal awaiting them in the dining area.
A dorm is described as “a place where college or university students live.” This holds true in Silliman, with the exception being that dorms here are not limited to university students only. High schoolers are fully able to sign up for campus housing, as is seen in the likes of Carmela who is a 12th grader.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. The wind tangles Carmela’s hair as she makes her way to her first subject of the day . She spots a familiar silhouette in the distance. It’s Aurese! Aurese Dagle is her classmate, friend, and fellow dormer. She hails from the eerie Channon Hall. Almost a hundred years prior, the place served as the headquarters for the Japanese Military. The now receiving area of the dorm was once the torture chamber of suspected guerilla spies. That’s certainly one way to appeal to potential dormers!
The duo walks to class as the morning rays soon fade into high noon. The dormers swiftly return to their housing upon lunchtime dismissal. When asked to rate dorm food, Aurese gave it a solid 8, whilst Carmela rated it significantly lower–a 4 if you were wondering. Cafeteria food is iconic in its own right, what with the cheap cheese bread and Filipino sud-an always starring on the menu. Eating it everyday, however, can be tiring for just about anyone.
Ding. Ding. As lunch wraps up and the school bell rings, that only means one thing: it’s time to go back to class. Another dormer rushes to her afternoon subjects. This time though, she comes from outside the university. Meet Kiarra Carreon, an off-campus Sillimanian dormer. Moments away from being tardy, she slips inside the classroom and promptly spots Carmela and Aurese. The three girls sit through their classes like any other student. The difference is that, when the late afternoon rolls around, they return to their dorms instead of their homes.
Being a dormer isn’t always easy. “I am someone who requires alone time, and because I have three other roommates, I don’t get as much of it as I typically need,” Aurese states. Unfortunately, dorms are filled with people. Introverted or not, time to yourself to heal and feel is not always a luxury.
Carmela follows up by mentioning that the food situation gets quite repetitive. She says, “I initially rated the food a 9 out of 10 at the beginning of the school year, but as time went on, I downgraded it to a 4.”
Aside from the food and lack of privacy, the biggest challenge many dormers face is the sudden independence. Nothing really prepares you for what it’s like to live alone for the first time. Growing up, parents are there to guide you in every aspect of life. In dorms, your parents aren’t there, but ultimately, dormers like Kiarra found living away from their family to be beneficial. “It might be difficult, but doing things by yourself really is beneficial for self-growth. You can learn to manage all sorts of things without your parents doing it for you,” she says. What most people only learn after university [independence] is something that dormers are given early access to.
Silliman student housing balances life skills with friendship opportunities. Dormers share spaces with others in similar situations as them. This forms a breeding ground for lifelong friendships when put together with the right people. Despite her introverted nature, Aurese still says, “I love my roommates. I love my dorm-mates. I like their vibes.”
In the dorms of Silliman, students from far and wide live and learn. The illustrious campus housing has served and will continue to serve as a haven for generations to come. Even if the kids can’t always return to the aroma of home-cooked meals and the sight of their family, the immovable cement of Silliman dorms always welcomes its inhabitants upon evening’s dawning.
Rustle. Carmela’s bed sheets fuss as she attempts to get comfortable for the night. As sleep claims her eyes and the lights subtly dim, another day for the dormers soon comes to an end.