The Chamber

One of the privileges I had when I started going to college was a vast library. I only had little experiences regarding libraries when I was in elementary and high school; but when I entered UST I've been so amazed with the campus' big and wide UST Miguel de Benavides Library, just a few walks away from St. Raymund's Building, where my classes have taken place.

Whenever there's schoolwork that involves research, or whenever I just wanted to pass time and dwell in coldness, the library is the place to go. Usually upon entering that library I go right into the elevator and head to fifth floor. I would then go to my left, opening a glass door to a cold hallway to my favorite hangout—the Humanities section.

A particular place

Inside Humanities there's a portion among the rows of desks, tables, and shelves that uniquely stands out. It's actually a corner of the room, situated at the upper-left side. This box-like 'nest' has two arches, sandwiched between racks of books ranging from Bible commentaries to Philippine literature. Inside, there are more shelves filled with mostly aged pocketbooks with brown pages. Surrounded by these shelves are two desks, which make it a privilege to get in there. It is called the Esquinita de Quijano de Manila, named after a pseudonym of one of Philippines' renowned National Artist—the late Nick Joaquin, whose portrait is framed as a glass window adjacent to the desks, and whose collection of books were in those shelves.

I call it The Chamber. I was amazed the first time I saw it—a library within a library within the entire library. For me it's a kind of sanctuary, like I would call a Booksale stall. I find it as a place in the library that I can go to when I want to pause from the fast-paced world encapsulated in the campus and the classroom. It's a place to sit back; to chill out when I'm left on my own after class; to go to when I'm stressed, depressed, or feeling things mixing up that I need to sit somewhere and stay put. Aside from the library itself, The Chamber is a place where I appreciated solitude and silence, because it's a different experience when you're enclosed in a small open room and have a sort of a VIP seat there.

First time: Reviewing in solitude

The first time I went in there was a Saturday afternoon. After classes I had some bizarre blues out of feeling what I regard as some adolescent disturbance (which I prefer not to expand at this point) as expressed by a particular song by Björk. I realized I needed to be somewhere quiet. As a way to pass time, stay calm, and more importantly to prepare for an upcoming presentation in Communication Theories [one of my subjects at that time], I decided to review notes in the library. Thankfully there's a seat in The Chamber, so I took the opportunity.

Once I occupied the seat, I laid out my photocopied readings, a yellow pad, and my pencil case (pen case, rather) and let the afternoon pass while I reviewed my outlines and notes. Not only did I benefit from studying at such a solemn place, but I appreciated being there.

In The Chamber that afternoon the waves of mixed emotions were assuaged by silence, concentration, and calm.

Another time: Problem solving

Then another afternoon came when I went there after classes. I had another strike of blues under the same descriptions given earlier. Good thing there was a vacant seat at that calm Chamber.

I sat there, laid out a notebook and a pen, then expressed myself with whatever is in there that needs to be articulated in words. I wrote, hoping that writing would not only let my expressions flow but would also help me ponder about this 'matter' of mine and find practical solutions.

I found out, as I wrote, that I've magnified things, that I've made a big deal of this 'matter'. As I always have said to myself, it's all in my head. Seemingly the problem is solved: along with other suggestions, break the 'magnifying lenses'. After finishing my breaking-news-like journal account, I prayed to God about this 'matter' that I faced, which for me became a challenge between selfishness and humility, good and evil (this should've been the first recourse).

Thankfully, the mixed emotions were assuaged once more.

The Chamber is just one of those places remarkable for me in my preliminary journey in college life. It's simply a good place to be in. Not only for study, but for pausing from the play and fast-forward of day-to-day; for reflecting on things that demand your attention...and even for listening to The Corrs or The Carpenters.

(I just really like that place, that's why I wrote about it.)

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