Memoirs of a Navy Brat






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University Campus Life




Campus life at the State University was the start of a practical course on living independently, a training that will be reflected in my life from the day I stepped on the university campus. It was my first time to be separated from my family. After the usual initial heebie-jeebies, I was able to eventually adjust to the conditions of my new environment.

Fortunately, I had high school classmate and buddy, Alvin Urbi, as my dorm roommate during my first semester at the campus. At least I had somebody I was closely familiar with during my adjustment period. However, being a school athlete, Alvin later transferred to the athlete's quarters, were he was entitled to free accommodation. Before he moved out, Alvin and I had a little "cold war" when I turned down his invitation to attend a certain party. He did not talk to me for days.

An institution at the campus were the ubiquitous "ikot" jeepneys servicing the community population. They are best remembered for the low fare, I think P0.05 or P0.10 per ride during our time, to any point in the campus, much lower than fares charged by drivers plying outside routes. The butterfly tea was also popular at that time. What's with a butterfly tea anyway? Go, ask past campus residents!

During my freshman year, my normal routine was dorm to classes and back. I had my meals at the dorm cafeteria. During evenings, if I were not studying my lessons, I would be playing basketball at the court at the back of the dormitory. I would prefer to play than watch TV like like most residents. I would be playing for my college team during intramural games,  and my dormitory during inter-dorm basketball events.

The State University had also suffered from a negative image due to fraternity hazings and rumbles, some of which resulted in the loss of lives. I lost a young, promising classmate in one of those senseless frat wars. I witnessed my roommate, in another dorm, all black and blue from beatings in a fraternity initiation rite, hardly able to stand up. Then, in the middle of the night later on, he would escape through a back door before members of an opposing frat came knocking at our door.  All these made me avoid overtures to join a fraternity. Thus, I remained a barbarian, a mocking term for a student with no fraternity affiliation.

On the other hand, the State University is acknowledged as the training ground of the country's future leaders. Therefore, it was no surprise that I got to rub elbows with, or got to observe at close range, people who would later on crash into national prominence. [Campus personalities who rose to national prominence]

Other campus activities anticipated by dorm dwellers were the "open house" events, wherein residents of dormitories open their embellished rooms to guests, male or female, to share some nosh and to socialize. Ha ha ha...a subtle avenue to find prospective soul mates! Sometimes, potential suitors from the men's dorms would serenade dormitory lasses in the evening, eliciting hushed giggles from the unlighted rooms' screened windows.

University campus life would inevitably alter my world. I would be away from home from Sunday afternoon, till Saturday late afternoon. I had only a day's respite to get my next week's allowance and supply of fresh clothes. My fishing activities had to wait for the summer vacations. Swimming  and basketball were not missed though, as we had swimming classes and basketball games as part of the curriculum or dorm activities.

[The Pain of a Shattered Dream]


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