Dormitory life in VSU is not like the reality television show “Pinoy Big Brother” where housemates move in a fully air-conditioned room with a wide comfortable bed, fully equipped kitchen, and a spacious living room. It is not always having big parties and having fun. Those are just what you see in the movies.
In reality, you will be spending more time getting to know people and adjusting to a whole new environment. But just like in school, living in a dormitory is also a learning experience. You will likely discover new things every day.
Moving into the dormitory can be pretty exciting and agitating. The first person you will meet will likely be the president of the dormitory, or the Student Assistant or the big brothers or big sisters. They will guide you around the building – the location of the kitchen, laundry area, bathrooms, adviser’s room, and especially your own assigned room.
First order of business is to choose your bed, study table, locker as well as which side you prefer.
College is a wild and crazy journey. You are on your own. You’re in charge of your budget, diet, laundry, and yourself. You realize it is not a vacation nor a sleepover. But as a dormitory occupant, your college life will be extra thrilling.
Here are some surprising things about life in the dormitory that may help you in the future.
The daily cleaning is probably the most dreaded routine in the dormitory. Imagine waking up to a loud sound of a bell ringing as the Student Assistant roams around to wake you up. As early as five in the morning, all occupants have to clean certain parts of the building. Even with an unwilling body and droopy eyes, you have no choice but to get yourselves moving. It is one of the responsibilities that all occupants must uphold whether they like it or not.
So make sure not to sleep so soundly or you will miss the bell and be marked as absent. And being absent will not help your stay in the dormitory at all.
VSU dormitories impose a strict curfew. Most of them have a 9 pm curfew on weekdays and a 10 pm curfew on weekends. This is to discipline occupants and prevent them from loitering around at night especially during the university curfew. So it is better to always mind the time and manage it efficiently. Because when the dormitory closes its doors for you, a fine will be charged and it will affect your performance greatly.
But if you plan to skip curfew, make sure you have another place to crash.
Dormitory events and activities
Dormitories in VSU are known for their lively activities such as team building, acquaintance parties, sports, parades, and more. These events were created to form camaraderie among occupants. It is a great opportunity to meet new friends and establish connections.
However, through the years, occupants started to complain about these activities. Some events require attendance and exhausts students due to preparation for the event. But despite these comments, dormitories have preserved its traditions and continued to put smiles in the faces of occupants.
Knowing your advisers, big brothers or big sisters
Getting to know these people is the closest thing to a family that you will have in the dormitory. The adviser is the father or mother figure for all the occupants. They are the ones who are responsible for your safety and wellness during your stay in the dormitory. Much like an occupant, the advisers also reside in the dormitory and oversees all operations.
Big brothers or sisters refers to the old occupants who have been in the dormitory for quite some time. They are usually well versed with the rules and traditions of the dormitory. They act as your older siblings that will guide you with the do’s and don'ts inside the building. Giving them adequate respect and seniority is a good manner for any new occupant.
Building a rapport with them is in your best interest because you may need them in the future – help you around the university, manage your schedules and academics, and even deal with your personal problems.
Preparing for different kinds of personalities
Inside the dormitory, you will meet new people with distinct personalities. Inevitably, there will be some people whom you will find difficult to deal with. It could be your roommate or somebody you bumped into in the hallway. In these cases, it is best to be in your most friendly personality.
Do not try to start commotions or establish a bad blood towards another occupant. Any form of fighting is prohibited in the dormitory. Expulsion from the facility is the gravest punishment for such actions.
Always try to figure out the cause of the problem and a solution. So when you need to confront the person, you will have peaceful resolution and not hold grudges with each other. Remember that you are brothers or sisters inside the dormitory regardless of your gender, course, and status. You must always treat each other as a family.
Privacy is rare
Dormitories were made to accommodate a handful of students. Don’t expect much privacy because one room can have six to twelve persons inside. Which means everyone knows every single thing you do. Like it or not, privacy is hard to come by inside the dormitory.
But even if it does not sound ideal, there is a beauty in it. One thing is for sure that you will never be alone. You will have people around you whom you can ask for help even in emergency situations. They can be a source of laughter and comfort in times of disappointments. It is like having comrades who will always be there whenever you need a helping hand.
Asking is one key to survival
Most college students define themselves as financially broke and cannot afford to buy the things they want. Time will come where you will realize that you are already short on supplies. But in dormitories, that is not a problem at all.
This is a funny trivia that all dormitory occupants can relate to. Your roommates are an endless source of supplies. Whenever you need an extra sachet of shampoo, toothpaste, detergents, hangers, and yes, even money as well. Just ask nicely and they’ve got your back.
So you have to be prepared to share what is yours because there will always be a time when you will be the one in need.
Respect is the way
One of the core values of VSU dormitories is respect. Occupants are taught not to discriminate no matter what the sex, gender, age, course, and status is. All must receive equal respect as how it should be.
Always be mindful of what other occupants think and be careful not to offend anyone. Observe proper decorum and learn to apologize for mistakes even if they are unintentional. Normalize saying “thank you” as well to show your genuine gratitude in every help you get. Learn to use “kuya” and “ate” when addressing big brothers and sisters. It is always a good way of showing respect towards their seniority.
A simple reciprocity of respect is the most important factor that maintains peace and order in every dormitory.
The semestral evaluation
If there’s one thing that makes VSU dormitories and “Pinoy Big Brother” alike, it is the semester evaluation. Not all occupants can stay forever in the dormitory. Only those who have observed the rules and gave participation to events can continue living in the dormitory. Hence, the evaluation is the way to handpick deserving occupants.
The evaluation is usually administered by the dormitory adviser, student assistants, anda set of evaluators chosen from the occupants as well. They rate your performance in the dormitory based on your attitude and observation of the house rules and regulations. A high grade can retain an occupant giving him/her a secure slot for the next semester while a low grade can either put him/her in waitlist or worse fail, which means that he/she could no longer stay in any dormitory in the campus.
That is why you must give your best to respect the rules of the dormitory and avoid getting involved in situations that can diminish your reputation.
VSU may not have the most luxurious dormitories that can give you the most classy accommodation. However, the university together with the occupants have tried their best to offer a comfortable life for every student.
The longer you stay in the dormitory, the more you realize that it is not about how aesthetic the facility is, it is about the genuine friendship and connection that you will be able to make through the years to come.
Dormitory life is not easy and it will never be. However, you will never feel alone throughout your college life. There will always be people around you who will accompany you in your hardships until the day of your graduation.
Margraf von Jean Eslopor contibuted in this story.