Friday, August 24, 2007

What being a Sillimanian means to me

Yeah, I know! That title sounds like that dreaded essay from high school. I’m pretty certain every Sillimanian from Grade Four to college had encountered this question at least a dozen times!

How about you? What does being a Sillimanian mean to you? I haven’t really thought of that myself until I got hit by SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY's Founder’s Day fever and found myself in the midst of frantic preparations for the 10th Year Homecoming of SU College of Law, Batch ’97.

Getting together with old classmates to plan our reunion brought back memories of carefree fun, which to my mind actually outnumbered those days when we got serious enough to dig into our books.

As I went though old photographs with old classmates Bing Sumanoy and Marilyn “LB” Elemia, together with our success stories Atty. Gloria “Ma’am Futs” Futalan and Atty. Cris “As In” Bonganciso, it suddenly struck me how I have made that transition from being THE STUDENT bent only on exploring the booth area or shouting my throat hoarse during cheering contests or excitedly rushing to our favorite hang-out, the now defunct “Forum” … to now being one of those kind of senior-looking and mostly round figured RETURNING ALUMNI who have come back home to revisit the Alma Mater.

Get my drift? Student: young. Alumni planning reunion parties: kind of not so young. That’s all I care to say on this unsavory but undeniable subject!

So what does being a Sillimanian mean to me? Let me attempt to translate into words here the significance of the word “Sillimanian” from my own perspective.

I used to step back from the throng and observe from the outside. I have always been amazed at Silliman’s magnetic pull over its alumni and how the bonds that were formed during school days continue to hold strong, particularly among Sillimanians abroad. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this holds true for everyone. Even complete strangers who bear the stamp of Silliman automatically become members of the bigger family.

I have seen first hand how kind, generous and unselfish arms have reached out across the miles to extend assistance to old classmates to see them through rough times.

As for me, I feel pride for Silliman and everything that it stands for. My Alma Mater may not be perfect (as nothing is and will ever be), and has seen its share of bad days in its 106 years, but the fact that it is there as a beacon of truth and everything that is good and right in this life, is reason enough for me to be proud.

We may choose to follow its ideals or not, and it is without doubt that many of us have fallen off the track along the way, but there is always our Alma Mater to look up to and to lead the way.

I also feel the warmth that comes only from knowing that one belongs to something that is bigger and greater than all of us put together, and I belong to Silliman, and that is something that nothing and no one can ever take away from me.

Silliman is a gateway that enables us to travel back in time … that time in our lives when we were younger and more carefree, when there was endless laughter and fun, when the whole wide world was still out there, waiting to be conquered … a time in our lives when we were still untouched by the life felt only by our parents then … no hardships and disillusionments yet, only promise of greater things to come.

So that’s what being a Sillimanian is to me … pride of this great institution itself, and along with it, pride at having my own niche, no matter how small, insignificant and unremarkable, it is mine.

Now I know why our alumni always come back home and why I am coming home as well. We want to see old friends and hopefully feel that old magic that only youth could bring spark back to life once again.

1 comment:

teng said...

hi olga!

thanks so much for replying. we're still recovering & there is still so much ground to cover, but the point is...there's hope. thanks for your sympathy and concern.

on another note, once a sillimanian, always a sillimanian. i never actually graduated from SU...enjoyed dumaguete too much, hehe. nevertheless, silliman will always be my alma mater. lahi ra dyud, sa?

i still say "madahan" and "dagway". i still surround myself with sillimanian friends. and dumaguete is still my favorite vacation spot! :D