Tuesday, July 23, 2024

You, Me, and the Campus by the Sea

By Roem Krishane Bolongaita | The Sillimanian Magazine

I was wandering through familiar pathways when memories of past triumphs and cherished traditions echoed with each step of my way. Towering Acacia trees, like ancient sentinels, whispered tales of the university’s history. The grounds—bathed in the soft glow of sunlight—seemed to hold the collective memories of students who had come before me. Then,  there’s the Ravello field, once a battleground for spirited competitions, it now danced in my memories with vibrant hues of camaraderie. I remembered in the lively atmosphere of our school’s intramurals, departmental competitions were fierce as each group strove for supremacy and the honor of claiming top spots and prestigious trophies. I recall the echoes of enthusiastic cheers that filled the air, as students from every department rallied behind their athletes, their support resounding throughout the campus.

Of course, my favorite event, the Hibalag Festival, a celebration of culture and creativity, painting the campus with a kaleidoscope of experiences. These memories of navigating the festival grounds, laughing with friends, and immersing myself in the cultural mosaic of the university flooded back.

Amidst the academic rigors, campus pets offered me solace, becoming unsung heroes in my journey. 

Department events also united students from diverse backgrounds, shaping a collective identity amidst academic pursuits. Joining organizations extended my purpose beyond classrooms, fostering personal growth and community service.

Yet, besides the myriad experiences, it was the people who left the most indelible mark—the shared laughter, late-night studies, and deep human connections—that defined my life at Silliman.

As I navigated through my college years, you unexpectedly became a significant figure in my life’s narrative. Though uncertain of your role or our connection, your presence brought me happiness. You contributed to the flourishing of my college experience, filling it with joy and excitement. 

Every campus event I attended felt positively different because of you, it felt like I was a flower blooming under the influence of the joy you brought into my life.

Your presence became apparent as you quietly settled beside me, our eyes drawn to the campus bathed in the sunset’s glow. Amidst the silence, a distinct connection formed between us, unspoken yet deeply felt.

“Silliman feels like home, don’t you think?” You broke the silence.

Your observation caught me off guard, prompting me to question its significance, “Why are you telling me this?”

“It seems like you’re thinking about the most memorable things here,” you observed, your eyes tracing the contours of the landscape. “You didn’t even notice that I was here.”

Apologies and a shared silence followed, broken by your next words.

“You’re a part of it,” you affirmed, the weight of your statement hanging in the air.

Your words caught me off guard; they were entirely unexpected. I felt a surge of happiness knowing you felt the same, yet I hesitated to assume anything. Your revelation has left me with a singular desire—to ask you more.

Seeking clarity, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Home. You, me, and the campus by the sea,” you revealed, as though unveiling a hidden truth. In that moment, with the sea murmuring its timeless stories and the campus bearing witness to our exchange, I understood that some narratives unfold not in solitude, but in the quiet companionship of special people.

Our shared silence became a language, and within it, a new chapter of my Silliman journey unfolded—a chapter where you, me, and the campus beside the sea became intertwined in the narrative of home.

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