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
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
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]
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'
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]