Friday, June 14, 2024

Two Truths and a Lie

By Kaith Mari Etcuban | The Sillimanian Magazine

  1. I’m happy here. 
  2. My dream school was Silliman.
  3. Silliman is like my home.

Do you see the lie?

Truth: I’m happy here.

Ask anyone who knows me. Those I hold dear to my heart–my sister, my high school friends, my old teachers, and my cousins through multiple updates knew this is true. They do not know the whole story, but the general idea they do. The story of moving out of my childhood home and choosing a good college. How I’ve wanted to study far away to grow independently. I got to study the major I wanted and enjoy the full college experience by living in a dorm. 

I’m happy here, I am. 

Not always, but in the grand scheme of things, it is enough. 

Partially true: My dream school was Silliman.

My dream school was any good school that could pluck me away from my childhood home. In that sense, Silliman was a dream. 

When the world was put on pause, I was nearly suffocating each passing day. The mere prospect of being able to leave that four-walled space I called a room kept me going. Whereas other students were looking at the quality of education of their chosen schools, I was searching up the distance between where I stood, to where I could go. 

My desperation to leave and to feel like myself again made Silliman seem like it is a dream sparkling with hopes and joy. 

Lie: Silliman is like my home.

Silliman is not my home. 

In the last three years, I have met many different people, and this is one of my favorite things about Silliman—the chaotic mixture of personalities, backgrounds, and identities. People are so different yet so familiar at the same time. I find traces of myself in the people I meet and in the spaces I occupy. 

I knew I was running away by coming here, but I didn’t realize how many people were doing the same. It’s both a solace and a discomfort knowing we are somehow all hiding from something—that we are desperately drowning so that the campus by the sea can keep us hidden under its waves.

So, Silliman is not my home—it is my resting place, my runaway shelter, my temporary relief. And, I will one day grow enough courage to take one step out and come back home.

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