pre-freshmen year horrors

iloilo city was a shocker.

the state of the “boarding houses” situated nearby the university belt (the colleges and universities were standing side by side each other) were in such horrific state even the iguana-infested bathroom in my old university boarding house was nothing scary or shocking compared to the number of boarding houses we have checked that day.

what a waste for such a prime location.

i have expected the center of iloilo city to boast of decent dormitories and learning conducive boarding houses. what i have witnessed were 12×10 rooms with two smaller than single sized double decks and nothing else. they were so small you do not have to move your eyes at all to get a good view of the entire room.

what shocked me some more was the prices they have set for one space. it was like paying premium for the slums just because it was beside the university.

we did find a decent dormitory. it was so decent their curfew was 6:45pm, boarders can only watch television at a given time, meals can only be served at a given time, and everything else requires a permit from the dormitory manager. it was like being assigned in a convent. my sister didn’t change her expression as she read the rules, nor she flinch when she was asked how she found it. i know exactly how she finds the place; it wasn’t her idea of college life.

i wasn’t clueless about freshmen year, or specifically, dormitory life. my first year away from home revolves in it. i got a space in one of Silliman University’s cooperative dormitories. it is within the campus, it is deemed safe, and it was a freshman dormitory. i shared the room with seven students, two of which were upperclass women, the rest were freshmen like me.

there were four rooms all in all. and every morning at 6 am we have to wake up to clean the dorm, say our morning prayer and eat our breakfast. that was how it worked. i could have taken a space on the neighbour dorm where cleaning wasn’t involved and students can wake up anytime they want to. if only we have enough money for it.

it wasn’t particularly a nice place, the landlady was a tigress for one. but that was where all my freshmen memories piled up: the silly crush on owen, the friendship bound with jullen, the crazy late night snacks in room C. it was there i had learn to eat hotdogs, sausages, sardines, and ham for breakfast. it was there i had learn to clean a bathroom. it was there i learned to make up my bed or else i get penalized for it.

it was living in a place like that that made me want to get done with college once and for all.

for a provincial girl of fifteen who was never away from home in her whole life found herself in a room with seven other strangers, having to adjust with thirty one other people, and realize there were still a huge number of individuals more intelligent, smarter, and luckier than her, of course, i am not clueless about freshmen year.

it breaks you or makes you.

and so, no, we didn’t find rovimae a place. and so, yes, she has to find the right one all by herself now. i wouldn’t say my trip to iloilo to get her settled was a waste although at the surface it is pretty clear we didn’t really accomplish anything. but for whatever it is worth, it gave my sister the chance to start making decisions for herself.


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